We're currently busy with a number of our clients helping them write Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's), document critical processes, and develop employee manuals. All of these actions will help them and their employees understand more clearly, what each employee needs to do to help their respective organization move forward and achieve its Vision. Wonderful.
However, all of the documentation in the world isn't going to ensure the employees actually do any of the critical processes. Simply developing the resource guides doesn't change the way employees do their jobs. Changing behaviors does. But changing behaviors also takes time and follow-up.
One of our clients recently experienced this shortly after they had hired a new manager. This manager came to them with a great set of credentials and more than enough experience. In our planning and strategy meetings, he shared samples of the documentation and tracking systems he had recently put in place with his teams. They were simple, clean, and easy for his teams to use. This guy seemed like the answer to their prayers!
The only problem was, the new manager wasn't using the new systems himself. In fact, when the senior team conducted their spot checks on all of their managers, they found that this new manager hadn't used the new procedures or required documentation in weeks! His teams were following their procedures, he wasn't following his.
Hmmm. We've got a bit of a problem now. How can we expect our employees to adhere to required procedures for long if our managers don't? How can we as senior managers assure our customers quality is a priority when our managers and supervisors don't adhere to quality standards themselves? How can we as leaders rest assured that our managers are doing what they say they are? We can't.
As managers, leaders, or owners, we like everyone else in our organizations, need basic processes to spot check those critical procedures or tasks that each employee - front-line to management - must do as required. We can't monitor everything - and we don't need to. We just need to monitor and spot check those procedures we determine are critical. Those procedures that have to be done exactly as specified time and again. Then we'll have systems that will help to nudge changes in behaviors. The changing behaviors will change the way our employees do their jobs and the way our organizations operate. But it all hinges on a little bit of monitoring - just to make sure what we think is being done is getting done.
Copyright 2005 - Liz Weber - Weber Business Services, LLC. WBS is a team of Strategic Planning and Leadership Development Consultants, Trainers, and Speakers. Liz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or