I Cherish My Routines…So Why Do I Fear Procedures
September 14, 2012 2 Comments
If you mention the word policy or procedure at work most people groan loudly, or at least at my workplace. Policies or procedures are often thought of as restrictive and seem to take the “freedom” out of doing a job for so long. Many will argue that they have been doing something for ten or twenty years so they do not need a paper to tell them how to do it. If however you think of procedures as what they truly are (routines) you might see a benefit to them as routines are something many people embrace and cherish in their lives.
While we may have done something for a long time, if we are pulled out of our routine even for a short time, then we do have a tendency to not return to the job and do it the same as we previously performed the task. This is the same as saying working outside of the standard. If however we have these routines and they are maintained we can expect standardized results. This reduces fluctuations in our everyday life. Of course in life we may enjoy this experiencing something new, like turning left instead of right and discovering a different store, meeting a new person or trying a different cuisine as an example. In business however most customers do not appreciate these changes.
As a practical example our workplace routines were disrupted last few weeks with having a numerous amount of visitors to our site. Customers, representatives, trainers, consultants and contractors all were here for days at a time. This resulted in a break in routine which caused us to stop posting to our blog as our authors had no time to write. The impact was a dramatic drop in views on our blog. Had we created standard routines and back-ups plans for disruption we would have easily provided quality articles and maintained our readership.
This is true many times in companies when you look at route causes for issues involving quality, productivity or technical issues that many will attempt to find blame in an individual however if you dig deep enough you will often find it is truly an issue with routines. Examples could be: Were there procedures or policies to ensure people were trained to the product requirements or was a machine was not maintained regularly because there were not proper routines put in place.
Without procedures people may know what to do, but likely their actions will not be consistent and without policies then we cannot ensure that the procedures will be followed. This is all routines are:
1. A customary or regular course of procedure.
2. Commonplace tasks, chores, or duties as must be done regularly or at specified intervals; typical or everyday activity: the routine of an office.
So while we may see procedures and policies as restrictive, remember that they truly contribute consistency and control to your business and your product. This is something that your customers will truly cherish