Systems Component #3: Policies
These are the guidelines—the rules and regulations. Policies are to clarify
expectations on conduct issues, dress code, etc. A good example of a set of
policies is what would be in your Employee Handbook.
Be sure that your policies complement your mission rather than compete
with it. For instance, if your mission is to provide the most outstanding
service experience ever, don’t make policies that are going to frustrate the
You can get an Employee Handbook template for your state. Make
any needed changes to it and have a labor attorney review it. The technical
policies for your industry may be found through industry associations, etc.
Otherwise, you’ll have to write them line by line. Even if you get something
that is already “complete”, chances are that you’ll have to invest some time
Systems Component #4: Procedures
A procedure is the “how to.” Make your procedures step by step. If it is a
computer program, include each keystroke (within reason, you can’t always
cover every possibility). If your industry has technical training or manuals
to use, you can cut the development time down. We have one department
in one of my companies where a technical manual developed by a training
company in our industry is used as our technical manual. Whatever the
book says, that’s how we do it.
The idea is that someone who has never done the work can follow the
procedure and can do it without any further instructions. Tis reminds me
of when I first started traveling to present workshops. My brother was traveling with me because he has an accounting business that requires only a few months of his time, and he’s basically “of” the rest of the year. We were on an airplane and he was sitting behind me.
I simply handed the timeline and procedure for the one-day workshop
over the back of the seat, and he read it on the plane. The next morning when I stopped the workshop for a break, I couldn’t find my brother! The rental car was gone and so was he! Where could he have possibly gone? I thought to myself. A few minutes later, he walked in with a Starbucks in his hand.
You’re kidding! I’m thinking to myself. Here we are on break and I need
help with orders, and he’s at Starbucks! “Why did you go to Starbucks?” I
asked him. “Because the procedure said to go get you a coffee from Starbucks during the break and to be back by 10:30. Two sugars right?” he said. I had taken the break a few minutes early. He followed the procedure. I didn’t!
Although that’s kind of a funny story, it proves how you can write a procedure, hand it of, and not worry about it.
Excerpt From; The 5 Secrets of a Phenomenal Business by Howard Partridge.