Document your procedures
Well, now you have reached the point where you have thought about what your procedures will cover and collected some of the more important for the work you want to delegate, it’s time to get them put into a format your teams can use. Because here you have your operations manuals which is one of the most important strategic keys to making all of this work.
Your operations manuals with the procedures must be in a form and language that is accessible to your teams.
So where to start. Here are some things to think about.
First always is simplicity. Documenting procedures can develop into a detailed chunks of text that become more complex by the minute.
And complexity is the enemy – one look and everyone will avoid ever returning to your manuals. So, the overriding aim always is – keep it simple.
Very tricky to achieve.
The answer lies in the way structure your manuals and the way you record the procedures, so information is available to those who need it as fast as possible.
Let me explain.
Suitable to be used for all the purposes they must meet
Your procedures will be used for many purposes.
Training in the first instance where descriptions of the whole process with all the why’s and what’s and how’s will be needed.
On the job reminders where fast access to the shortest bit of information is key. Sometimes just a checklist of what is to be done is all that is required – nothing about the why or how to obfuscate the issue.
Performance management where, if things do go wrong, it’s back to the detail of training.
This list is not exhaustive.
Easy to get at
If someone fixing a gutter on a roof can’t remember how a particular fixture works, and they cannot get to an instruction immediately, they are likely to fudge the job as best they can. Not great for the longevity of that gutter or your reputation.
Practical instruction needs to be available at the click of a button or maybe two clicks and this means:
- Cloud based hosting
- Smart manual’s structure
- Good table of contents
- Good search mechanism
As short as possible
Dot points and notated images are a great way to go. No long text descriptions if possible.
In the language of your teams
It is no good getting your lawyer to document procedures for the truckies delivering your product. The lawyer might know all the legal ins and outs but the resulting probably text based document will really not meet your truckies needs.
Wrong tone, wrong use of word
s, too complex and detailed and probably wrong language altogether.
Think about how different people learn – visual, giving it a go, needing the detail, being shown, image or video based – we are all different and we need to have things explained in our language.
Why as well as what and how
Start with why. Then people find it so much easier to listen and hear what is being explained.
One point of truth
Never explain any process or procedure more than once. This leads to total confusion especially when you get to maintaining your manuals later when you update one place and not the other.
Chunked – and it really can be illogical
And what this leads to is the need to chunk things, sometimes in an order that initially seems completely illogical but later creates a beautiful system which is intuitive to use.
Finally, this is absolutely not a job for the business owner. You need to bring in help from your team led by one of the most important people in your business – your systems leader. This person will help your team to collect the information and get it documented in your simple to use cloud-based system.
Bliss when it works.