Policies and procedures define your processes, are a part of deploying your strategy, and identify what is important to the business. ISO standards require certain procedures and forms as critical elements to improvement and a working management system. Yet, how often have you contemplated your policies and procedures strategy?
Your policies and procedures should not be an afterthought. Your policies stem from your vision, mission and values of the organization. Your procedures define the consistency of your business model. Together they represent your strategy and how it is deployed throughout the organization.
Your policies and procedures strategy may not be delivering results because it lacks alignment with your tactics. If you want to enter new markets, double sales, or launch a new product, then you will need a defined course of action to get there. You cannot wish that it happens. Employees need clear milestones, action plans, and concrete steps they can take to achieve your strategy. Existing policies may need to change. Old priorities may shift and new procedures may be required to achieve your goal.
Policies and procedures represent your strategic intent. A specific policy and procedure can propel you forward just as much as it can hold you back from achieving your objectives. Not having any policies and procedures in place can create confusion. Employees may not understand what you literally want them to do.
Let’s take a simple strategy to doubling sales as your strategic goal. When you set this as the future state for your company, are you saying you plan to double every salesperson’s quota or do you plan to double the number of sales people? Each would require a different change to your sales and marketing process.
Doubling quota may mean doubling new product introductions, doubling territory sizes, or retraining salespeople to be more effective in closing sales. The alternative may be to double salespeople. This in turn would require doubling leads, entering new markets, and training new salespeople on selling your products.
You can see a lot of interaction with other departments like marketing, new product development, and training. An effective strategy requires that you think through the deployment steps so you can define the adjustments needed to your policy and procedure system.
A lot of time and money is spent developing strategy, defining the action steps and then communicating it to all of the employees. Yet how much time are you spending looking into the policies and procedures strategy? Your policies and procedures are your strategy. If you don’t have time to adjust your policies and procedures for the new strategy, then how do you expect to achieve your new strategy with outdated policies and procedures?
Download free policies and procedures templates, easily editable in Microsoft Word.