Standardized Processes Drive Results

Almost all fears are rooted in two related aspects of the human consciousness: a lack of control and a lack of knowledge. No one likes to feel out of control or face situations that they do not know what to expect or do. We’ve all been in the position of having been tasked with responsibility without guidance or explicit instruction. Human beings crave some amount of structure, boundaries, and processes.

The same goes for organizations. There is a need for standardization in operating procedures for teams to function efficiently and effectively. This is especially true in remote working cultures. Teams can fall apart when people cannot pop into the supervisor’s office for a quick question. Those small conversations allow for real-time course correction, which is difficult to duplicate when working remotely. All team members will have their own set of work habits, and the team must have a standardized approach to make decisions, share information, and solve problems.

Mistakes happen when people break protocols, do not fully understand them, or worse, there are none. If your team does not have standardized processes, here’s how to create them:

  • Open and Direct Communication – Have discussions with members from all levels of your team to identify the most beneficial ways of distributing information and determine who will have specific responsibilities. Be open to how everyone on your team works most effectively and be willing to adjust the process based upon their feedback. Everyone needs to have a voice at this table to achieve a level of buy-in to the ultimate decision.

  • Commitment – This is not consensus. While everyone should be able to voice an opinion on how the process is set up, not everyone has to agree wholeheartedly with the decision. However, everyone does need to be committed to the implemented protocols. Once the process is in place, people must adhere to it. Again, mistakes are made when people break protocols.

  • Support – Standardized processes must have an aspect of cross accountability amongst the team. Team members need to know that they will be relied upon to complete specific tasks to keep the entire process moving forward. Set up systems for team members to follow up and check-in with one another utilizing collaborative tools. Providing accountability and support keeps the team on track to achieve the results that are desired.

Let’s take a look at an example of the standardized process our team has set up to create and post this very series of blog posts. This process requires the work of five different people: the marketing director, creative designer, and three others responsible for content creation. We all had a meeting and discussed how the process would work, and here is the resultant standardized process:

  1. Marketing Director decides on a monthly topic

  2. Content Creators submit specific blog ideas

  3. Marketing Director provides notes, and final ideas are decided

  4. Marketing Director sends itinerary (deadlines) to all parties

  5. Creative Designer creates a draft of artwork and social media posts and sends to Marketing Director for approval

  6. Content Creators submit drafts of blog posts

  7. Marketing Director provides feedback for both #5 and #6 tasks

  8. Final changes are made and approved

  9. Creative Designer posts blogs on designated days

This process keeps our team working seamlessly on one of our many tasks. The outcome of communication, commitment, and support is results. Before this standardized process was in place, there was confusion. And as a result, too much time and energy were spent on this portion of our business.

Clear boundaries. Defined responsibilities. Commitment to the process. Support and accountability throughout. This standardized process drives results. If you and your team need help developing this effective dynamic, we can help. Schedule a call today, because you’ve got to work on it for it to get better.

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