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River Empowerment

Systems vs. Process - is there a difference?

Absolutely yes!

As a manager, understanding the difference is essential.

A process is a series of ordered activities that produce an end result.

A system is a set of readily understood, integrated, adaptable activities that produce ongoing, consistent results.


The body has many brilliant examples of systems - respiratory, circulatory and nervous

Inhalation vs Respiratory system

The best way to illustrate the difference between process and system, is with an example.  The body provides the best examples of systems.

Inhaling is a process of the body.  A series of activities occur with the end result being the lungs are filled with air.

However our respiratory system is so much more.  It doesn't have a start and end point, it is ongoing.  It is integrated with many of the other systems in the body, e.g. circulatory, nervous.  It is adaptable: it adjusts to our activities, emotional states.  In fact it meets all 5 key elements of our effective system definition:

• Consistent result
• Ongoing result
• Readily understood
• Adaptable
• Integrated

A recipe for failure

A process is a part of a system, it is not a system. 

This confusion between process and system is often why many systems fail.  Managers focus on the process only, forgetting other important system elements such as how to make the activity an ongoing one, how to build in adaptability and how to integrate the system into the other related parts of the business.

Improve your systemising skills at our next systems training workshop. Or better still gather your team together and we can bring our systems workshop to you.

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Business Systems Tools

River Empowerment Ltd provide the following Business Systems tools, training and consulting services:


Consulting Programmes

Do you want to achieve better results for your business? Do you want to increase alignment, employee engagement and effective strategy implementation?  

 Consulting Services

Want to align the direction of your business and improve results through strategic implementation? Need to review and identify the specific areas of your business to improve results?  
 Do you need skilled objective facilitation of your meeting or issue to achieve results?  Book a complimentary consultation to see how we can add value to your business  



Training Programmes

Are you looking for strategic management training programme specifically designed for middle managers?    

 1 Day Workshops

How do you design and implement systems that deliver ongoing, consistent results?    

Speaking & Presenting

Looking for something unique for your next meeting or event?  We can present on a range of topics or customise to suit your business needs.    



Complimentary Management Tips





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“We found it of huge benefit to getting started on the strategic path – it certainly made us see it in a different light and not something to be afraid of, nor something that you need a degree for just to understand what your companies strategy is actually saying!”

Justine Brady, IMG (Integrated Maintenance Group)

 “Very informative and will help with my everyday issues that arise and looking at the bigger picture. Have found that the tools will be extremely useful in my current role and any future roles.”

Craig Inger, Train Services Manager

"Activate offers personal service, a low key approach and cost effetiveness.  We have just received end of year figures and have had an excellent year following our work with Lisa - thank you."

Dave Woodfield, Owner Manager, Signwise

"I just want to say thank you for the work you did with us, which has proved to be particularly valuable in helping to get our heads around a whole lot of different helped us to achieve order and a way forward. Involving the wider team has been an important step in helping to grow engagement.
So thank you indeed for the way you worked with us to achieve a great outcome."

General Manager, Auckland

“Lisa is an awesome presenter and facilitator. I look forward to further development of my plans and ‘Mobilize’ and feel that Lisa has contributed to my knowledge and any success through this course.”

Megan Stewart, Director, Mobilize and ICC

"It is good to see some training that is based within the business so it is relative and the projects can have some value and it is not just an exercise destined for the book shelf. The topics were very appropriate and this has filled a space in the puzzle that has been missing for some time."

Regional Operations Manager, Senior Manager, Auckland

"I expected a fairly traditional course based on financial criteria/needs but have come away with a broader perspective of a range of attributes/skills required which should help me manage more effectively."

Peter Crighton, Carter Holt Harvey Engineered Wood Products

"Excellent article! I just forwarded it to all my staff"

 Ben Willacy, Testing Questions Ltd, Auckland NZ

“I have found this course to be one of my favourites...It was everything I expected and more.  It not only gave me some good tools but it helped me get a better understanding of my organisation."

Tania Gardiner, Norske Skog

"Activate have helped us manage our substantial growth by providing us with practical tools and analysis. They've helped us understand the financial, staff and process side of our business better, putting in systems to manage it more effectively. Throughout it all, they've helped us focus on what's really important to our business, and keep up with our growth."

 Darren Black, Owner manager

"My head was spinning, my business had grown quickly and all I knew was I needed some guidance and structure..... Lisa helped me get organised and build something that can operate without me."

Liz Burton, Garden Decor Ltd, Auckland NZ

"What a fabulous newsletter"

Sandy McPhee, iPayroll, Auckland NZ



   “Great use of my time and well facilitated. Thanks very much. Learned heaps and still learning.”

Natasha Polai, HR Manager

"Lisa understood the challenges we had and was able to implement a simple system that worked for us.  It wasn't rigid and she customised it to suit our needs." 

 John German, Quality Lock Installations, Auckland NZ

"Activate Management have been a steering wheel for my business and a sounding board for my ideas. I wouldn't be without their services."

Mike Plain, Auckland Heat Pumps, Auckland NZ

Activate Management Group Limited provides services that are registered for the NZTE Capability Development Voucher Scheme.
Under the scheme Owner Managers may be eligilbe for up to $5000 per year towards management capability development.

Find out more...

  “Great presenter – relevant and great to use back in the workplace. Very good for progressing ‘hard to do’ actions - and is working better than expected already.”

Carl Morton, Middle Manager

Who have we helped?

Our training and consulting services have helped hundreds of managers develop their skills.

Click here to see some of the organisations these managers came from.

"Great course thank you. As previously mentioned I've been on many courses where I've struggled to see the relevance or apply the tools - this wasn't one of them. Apart from the sales part, I found it all very relevant, with useful tools and the course was very well delivered and enjoyable."

Operations Manager, Middle Manager, Auckland

"I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your presentation this morning.  Light relief after a couple of pretty dry speakers, and proof that while things are serious, we can still interject some life and energy into our businesses!"

Joanna Thomson - Director, Flower Systems Ltd.

"I subscribe to quite a few newsletters, most I skim through, but Lisa's I read from beginning to end.  It's like a bosom buddy that understands, offers practical advice and makes me feel I'm on the right track."

Barry Robinson, SAFE Engineering, Auckland NZ



As your business grows, ensure your management skills grow with it.
Review our service listing to see how we can help you achieve your business goals.

"Great course. Great time.  Can't wait to implement."

Craig Tweedie, Environmental Health  Management Services

"Thoroughly enjoyable. I have a lot of ideas that I'm going to try in our workplace - thank you."

 Quinton Darby, General Manager, Auckland NZ

  "I learnt a lot and improved the way we did things as a result.
The systems introduced have enabled us to keep track of jobs much more effectively. We now have improved methods for job costing, following jobs and understanding jobs."

Dave Nallard, Nallard Construction Ltd

 "Sometimes we are struggling with getting our systems in place. I feel good when your newsletter arrives - you seem to know where we're at and what to do."

Kath Fitzpatrick, Owner Manager, Nose to Tail

  "Being able to work through the ideas in respect to our business during the course meant I understood and retained a lot more."

Kirsteen Day, Middle Manager, Obex Medical











“Exceeded original expectations, resulted in applications to workplace rather than just theory.”

Christina Gibbons, Accountant, NZ


“I really enjoyed the fun way the course was presented.  It was great to get extra help and feedback whilst doing the assignments.”

Jaqui Toung, HR Manager