Policies & procedures that serve the greater good

If you’ve ever worked in a corporate environment, you’ve been frustrated by policies & procedures. Sets of rules were put in place that felt like they were designed to keep you from getting things done. While a pain the neck when poorly executed, well-crafted policies & procedures play an important role in growing organizations.

In the Invention & Incubation stages of your organization’s development you probably don’t need policies or procedures. When it’s just you, staying true to the heart & soul of your business is easy, and you’ll be able to work directly with your first couple of hires to get them on board and supporting your efforts.

As your team & organization grow you’ll begin entering the Growth & Stability stages of your life cycle. It’s here that policies & procedures begin to have value for your business, because of two important benefits they provide:

First, they inform team members how to perform their tasks. Quality and consistency are the watchwords for a growing organization. Whether delivering value directly to customers or serving internal stakeholders a clear set of policies and procedures—created with your team members, not for them—will help pave the way for repeatable, high quality outputs.

Additionally, well written and complete policies and procedures will allow your team members to have others back them up when they need to be out of the office and create an opportunity for smooth transitions when changes in employment occur.

Second, your policies & procedures will set the ground rules for how your team will interact with each other in your organization’s unique culture. Defining how transitions between duties will be passed, setting the guidelines for interpersonal expectations and establishing a path, up front, for how conflict will be resolved will keep your team on the same page and working well together.

Your greatest risk will come as your organization approaches the branching path between renewal and decline. A successful organization will continually review its policies & procedures to make sure they serve the business while a company headed for decline will often allow red tape to rule the day.

When is the last time you took a good look at your policies & procedures? If you haven’t reviewed the ground rules for your organization in as long as you can remember it may be worth taking another look to make sure that your policies & procedures serve your business and not the other way around.