While processing an opportunity at a Vistage meeting last week, one member asked if the company had a SOP around the process being discussed.
“What’s an SOP?” asked a Second Member.The group laughed or groaned. “A Standard Operating Procedure.” replied the First Member. Member 3 said, “We don’t have any of those.” Everyone laughed again.
Yup.Too often, we have no procedure around an important process and get very angry when our team does something we don’t agree with. Well, did you tell them?
Before you start rolling your eyes and saying that you can’t write every little procedure for every possible circumstance, remember this, you don’t have to write them all yourself.In fact, you shouldn’t be the one to write them.
What if you asked each team member to write down the important procedures for their role. If you have a group that does the same job, what if they all wrote it, or if one wrote the first draft and everyone added to it?
Why do this?
Well, here are a number of reasons;
People go on vacation, leave or more often these days, get an opportunity with another company. Someone will have to fill in and or someone will have to replace that person. Don’t depend on tribal knowledge to train their replacement. There will be holes.
In the process of reviewing the SOP’s, you will find duplication, uncertainly or waste that can be eliminated.
Best practices are uncovered that can be used throughout the company.
Some individuals will get a chance to show hidden talents and feel recognized which is huge for employee engagement.
If it seems overwhelming, start with one job or one area where people are tripping over each trying to work together. It is likely that the responsibilities are not clear. Ask them each to write down their duties and responsibilities and hash them out with the supervisor until they have a SOP. Yah! Next?
By the way, there are hundreds of SOP template on the web. Don’t recreate where you can borrow.
Image courtesy of Visual Thinking,Inc.