Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are the skeleton of an organization’s order. They are the processes by which the company is run—basically how we do business. They are a track to run on. They provide a company map or blueprint—for how machinery works, how shipping is done, how we hire people, define our marketing tactics, and how we adhere to our mission, vision, and values.
The success test is how well your SOPs align with your mission, vision, and values. Then, allow room for innovation and not being stuck in old rhythms. Encourage new ideas and reward solutions especially from new associates.
Try to run a business without clearly defined rules and regulation is dangerous, especially in a sector highly regulated, like finance.
My desire here is to raise awareness and prevent leaders from the trap of robotic response and behavior. How many times have you been on the receiving end of this statement—”Our policy is and I don’t have the authority to change it.” Painful words and demeaning at best.
Consider an annual review of your business plan and SOPs. What changes may cause you to adjust your plan? The pandemic is a useful model. For example, in order to create revenue, dine-in restaurants had to quickly convert their meal prep into take-out and delivery orders. Not so simple even on the surface.
Creativity in packaging the food is important.—(All of us know how well french fries travel when not eaten on the spot!)
Food consistency with sauces, for example, had to be separated in different containers. (The Food Network did a superb show showing how top chefs adapted to the new conditions.)
Will the company use a delivery service or hire someone to do that for your shop only?
New SOPs need to be created
You get the drift. So, now what? Create new SOPs to keep on track with the new processes. They are always a place to which you can return. Apply these new ideas to train existing and new associates.
Pricing is an issue to cover new packaging, personnel, and different expenses. Companies learned to survive with creativity like adaptability. Carry these ideas forward when circumstances return to “normal.”
Here’s the point: Don’t hide behind SOPs. Let them propel your business forward to run smoothly. Craft them for flexibility and exceptions when the unexpected happens, and you will always be prepared for the next shift!