The foundation of delegation
Are you one of these…
A very frustrated business owner or franchisor because:
You are not an orphan – we meet so many business owners working very hard drowning in the day-to-day operations of their business.
And when I ask, ‘Have you any processes documented for your staff or franchisees to follow?’ The answer is invariably, ‘Yes, but no one will use them – operations manuals are pretty useless.’
It’s not surprising.
Especially if you are still trying to get everyone to use an outdated paper-based copy hidden on the bottom shelf at the back of the shop. Although it also applies to those of us who have modern cloud-based systems which are badly constructed and badly maintained.
So, what to do?
Experience tells me:
Be the leader and insist you run a systems business, and everyone follows the systems
A particular leadership set of skills is the foundation of the foundation.
Yes, you must put in a business system based on well documented operations and procedures. And you must make sure everyone knows you think it is important things are done your way and that is how you do business around here – yes, even you.
The Support Department
Sometimes, this is probably you in the first instance but in time, as your business grows, this will be a task you will also delegate to another person or even several people if you reach the goals you aspire to. The trick is to think of support as a new department with a new set of tasks focused on showing people what to do and making sure they do things your way without your constant input.
So, the first support task is - documenting
Try to delegate documenting your procedures from the beginning
Try to delegate this task from the very beginning. To someone who has the aptitude and is given the TIME and RESOURCES to get it finished – even if only to the first draft. Business owners are very bad at getting this important job done because although it is recognised as important, it is not seen as urgent, so it sits there gathering cloud dust, never to see the light of day.
Make your ops cloud-based and easy to use
If your procedures are not available on every phone at the click of a button they will be forever ignored.
So, set up a simple to use cloud-based operations system which is easy to navigate and intuitive to use.
Keep your documentation up to date
Remember, this is an ongoing task, so your support staff don’t just do it for a while then let the job lapse. No one will use operations manuals full of procedures that are out of date or with important bits missing.
Your Support Team must be in touch with your front line, so they are on top of what needs to be written and they must be given the responsibility to do just that.
Why and What before How
I can’t stress that your documented procedures must BRIEFLY explain:
We, none of us are great at learning by rote. It helps remembering when we understand why things are done that way.
We’ll cover the details later in the year as I delve deeper into some of the practical details on getting effective procedures documented.
Make sure everyone gets the training to do the job your way. Don’t just expect people to come in knowing how to do everything. Obviously, there are some important caveats here. If you are employing a plumber who is licenced and knows how to change a tap, your procedures don’t need to cover that detail. But you probably do need to train them on how your customer service systems deal with your customer and your client processes.
Tied to your operations manuals
Training doesn’t follow a separate set of procedures – it uses the processes outlined in your operations manuals – very important – this way you are training people to do the job and the importance of using your operations manuals at the same time.
Make sure on the job questions are answered by checking the ops manual. Performance management processes are also based on the manual.
Be the leader
And I just can’t go past this again…
Make sure you have great, simple, easy to use procedures for all important tasks. Make sure your systems include consistent support processes (so they need to be documented too) – training, on the job management, performance management, systems maintenance etc.
Then walk away and let them get on with it
No micromanagement needed if you’ve done your job.
Give yourself the time to concentrate on what you should be doing – growing your business into the asset value you are proud to own and take the time for yourself you deserve.