We've worked with numerous leadership teams over the years who have needed to help their team members create basic Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s), document critical processes, and identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These actions help the leadership teams and their employees understand more clearly, what each employee needs to do to help their respective organization move forward, what can be further systematized, and what the results are showing you.
However, all of the documentation in the world isn't going to ensure the employees actually do any of the critical processes they help create. Simply developing the resource guides doesn’t change the way employees do their jobs. Changing behaviors does. But changing behaviors also takes time and follow-up (a.k.a. accountability).
One of our clients experienced this shortly after they had hired a new manager. This manager came to them with a great set of credentials and more than enough experience. In the executive team meetings and leadership strategy sessions, the new manager often discussed the documentation and tracking systems he had put in place with his teams to enhance quality, consistency and cross-training -- all key organizational goals. The systems he shared were simple, clean, and easy for his teams to use. This guy seemed like the answer to my client's prayers!
The only problem was, the new manager wasn't using the new systems himself. In fact, when the executive team conducted their spot checks on all of their direct report managers, they found that this new manager hadn’t used the new procedures in weeks! His teams were following their procedures; he wasn't following his.
Hmmm. You've got a bit of a problem now. How can you expect your employees to implement new systems if your managers don’t? How can you, as executive team members, assure your customers quality is a priority when your managers and supervisors don’t adhere to quality standards themselves? How can you as leaders rest assured that your managers are doing what they say they are? You can’t.
As managers, leaders, or CEO/owners, you like everyone else in your organizations, need basic processes to spot check those critical procedures or key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure what you want to have happen actually happens. You can’t monitor everything – and you don’t need to. You just need to monitor and spot check those procedures or KPIs you determine are critical. You need to manage those procedures that have to be done exactly as specified time and again, as well as those KPIs that will drive your organization forward. When you do that, you'll have systems and tracking metrics that help nudge changes in behaviors. The changing behaviors will change the way your employees do their jobs and the way your managers manage, and how you as leaders, lead.
But this all hinges on a little bit of monitoring – just to make sure what you think is being done is getting done.