Wednesday, 25 May 2022

C'mon! Just write the SOP!

We all know that we need to write things down.
This could be meeting actions, objectives, ideas for the future... or the knowledge we have in our heads.

Let me focus on the last point, knowledge.

For many organisations, this means capturing our experience so that others can use it. If you find your business growing then this is critical. You can't use telepathy!

Often referred to as Standard Operating Procedures (or, SOPs), defining the one best way to do something is a great way to share knowledge in your organisation.

But, why do so many people not bother to do this? Here are a few of the common issues I hear on my travels:
  • They think it will take too long to write.
  • They are worried that they'll get it wrong.
  • Why bother? No one will read them.
  • I've not done this before.
Let's review.
  • You don't have to spend hours writing SOPs. Even a few bullet points will move you in the right direction.
  • If you are worried about getting the information wrong, agree to work with a colleague to 'sign off' your instructions.
  • If you make the SOPs visible in your workplace, and link them to other documents, they will get looked at.
  • Everyone has to start somewhere with writing SOPs, so why not start today?
Let's not overthink this. Start writing your SOPs today and watch the errors in your business reduce from today.

About the author:

Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes and embracing Kaizen.

Giles is also the author of Effective Root Cause Analysis and 'What Does Good Look Like?'.

Avoid mistakes with your SOPs!