Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Doing Things Right Without Wasting Time
As the CEO, it’s your job to make sure the right things are done right. A big part of that is building repeatable processes which, if you’re familiar with our Big Six operating system, is Pillar 4: Processes.
To make processes repeatable we first have to define what they are. That’s done with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). SOPs are written instructions for performing regular activities in a consistent manner so that all members of a team do their best work in the least amount of time and with the least amount of error. Companies without SOPs waste resources fixing mistakes, doing things over, and generally taking too long to do what could otherwise be done quickly and smoothly.
While process consistency and repeatability increase profits and improves morale, it also de-risks a business by removing multiple points of failure. In small and midsize businesses (SMBs), where some departments are a team of one, employees are typically not cross-trained to jump in when a colleague is out. With detailed SOPs almost anyone can fill in for an absent employee thus avoiding costly bottlenecks and slowdowns. And ideally, the SOP is used well in advance to cross-train position back-ups before they are needed.
Most CEOs tell me they know they need SOPs but don’t know where to start. They fear it will be complicated, hard, and unpleasant. You might feel the same way. But documenting SOPs is actually not that big a deal. In my next blog, I’ll give you the steps on how to do them.
The sooner you get them in place the sooner you’ll enjoy the benefits including more efficiency, more consistency, more collaboration, improved morale, better onboarding of new employees, and less stress when people call in sick. Remember, business is supposed to be fun. SOPs help make it so.