We talk a lot about procedures. We talk a lot about building companies that last, that are bigger than the management team. Part of that is procedures. In The Three Laws of Empowerment (www.RShawnMcBrideLive.com ) we talk about building companies that last, using plans, and other techniques to make something bigger than any one person. Part of that is having processes and procedures. Anytime you have a company, you want to have process in place. I often say, “If there’s a problem in your company, it’s one of two things. It’s either the employee didn’t follow the process or procedure, or the process and procedure is broken.”
Let’s think about that for a second. If you have processes and procedures in place, certain ways of doing certain routine activities in your company, then anytime there’s a problem or error, we can go back and see why that error occurred. Without a process, it’s going to be a lot of randomness. One employee may do it one way, a different employee may do it a different way, and we’re not going to have consistent outcomes. If the employee is following a process and procedure and there’s a problem, then we can go back and adjust the process and procedure, and we can collect data among multiple employees. There’s also replaceability; if one employee is unable to work for a period of time for any reason, somebody else can jump in and do the process and procedure that is documented. The company continues to move forward.
While process and procedures are very valuable, they can be difficult to develop. It can seem overwhelming to process build your company. How do we do it? What are some practical steps?
#1Get your team involved. Have everybody discuss the need for processes and procedures. Have everybody work together. Have them build processes and procedures. Discuss what’s happening, and have an employee document exactly what they’re doing. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s just a starting point.
#2 Write down a workflow built on process and procedure. In this method you actually have somebody take a piece of paper and follow how a customer is interacted with in the office. What steps happen? How are those processes built? How is the telephone answered? How is the client brought into the company? How is the order placed? How is it documented? What filing is done? You follow the process of how a customer comes into the company and what happens, and that’s the start of your process and procedure. Once it’s documented, then we can start to look at improving and adjusting and enhancing that process and procedure.
The key here is to get the process started. There’s no right or wrong way to start the process of documenting your processes and procedures. The key is just to start getting something on paper. Start writing it down, start having discussions. As soon as you have something written down, then your team can visit the process and procedure and start adjusting it. You can have periodic meetings and figure out what’s not working in your procedures. It’s been my experience that once procedures are in place, employees get excited about making sure those procedures work well, adjusting those procedures, and understanding what happens. It’s a great way to build a consistent and uniform culture across your business.
What’s been your experience? Do you have adequate processes and procedures in your business? Are you lacking? What are you going to try to do differently? Join us in the comments below. We would enjoy hearing from you.
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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. Freeimages.com/photographer Hans-Gunther Dreyer.
About the Author
Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment ( www.rshawnmcbridelive.com ), gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can reach R. Shawn McBride at firstname.lastname@example.org or (214) 418-0258.
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