I’m quite sure you’ve all been in a business situation where a partner or coworker has, upon handing you a report and witnessing your dour expression, said, “Oh but I thought that’s what you were looking for,” or, “Wait, that’s how we’re supposed to do it, right?” To which, you smugly reply, “No, that’s not how we do it” and your partner angrily shoots back, “Well how was I supposed to know that?
After you’ve shaken off your initial instinct to pummel that partner to the ground with your fists and you’ve regained your composure, you realize that yea, how was this person to know the “right “ way to produce that report. Of course they wouldn’t know because, boom, your business has no standardized processes for performing the necessary tasks to operate your business successfully. Enter Standardization.
Standardization is the overarching focus of the fourth phase of of the Business Operating Support System or BOSS, a five phase agile operations system for growth companies. But before we dive into what, exactly, Standardization entails and how it can aid the development your startup’s operations, let’s briefly review BOSS. BOSS is an agile operating system that incorporates ideas and best practices from the most effective methodologies in business, software and manufacturing. BOSS creates efficiencies through a structured approach with five phases that set the Vision (or North Star), Strategy, Execution, Standardization and Business Improvement Processes needed to achieve alignment on company objectives, goals and measurable results utilizing leading and lagging KPIs.
Standardization involves setting the basic foundation for achieving your desired business outcome. Standardization is the establishment of widely understood, time-tested rules that guide people within your organization how to complete tasks and projects. Standardization eliminates process guesswork and helps ensure quality, productivity and, not inconsequentially, employee moral since less time is wasted figuring out how to succeed and more time actually succeeding.
If employees are spending time trying to figure out how to perform a certain task, they are going to be distracted from performing the actual task. When this happens, quality can suffer because differing approaches to the task will result in in slightly different outcomes for the same task. This will wreak havoc on quality since one of quality’s central tenets is consistently. When a customer frequents your business, they have expectations. When these expectations are not met or they change from experience to experience, that’s not a good thing.
Intertwined with quality is productivity. Standardization can also boost productivity because standardization helps to eliminate inefficiencies. When inefficiencies are eliminated, all work is able to be performed more efficiently and quality is boosted because less time is spent returning to the same task or process over and over to fix what was done incorrectly the first time around.
Employee morale and training efforts are also improved by standardization. When there is a clear cut, definitive process for completing a process or task, there is less risk for failure and that lower risk and the resultant actuality of not failing can be a tremendous boon to employee morale. After all, we are all human and, given the choice, most humans prefer to feel good about the work they do and, as a result, bask in the limelight of a job well done aided by clear cut, standardized processes.
Every element of your business process from individual tasks to company- wide projects, whether daily, weekly or monthly task, needs well-defined rules that clearly iterate the procedures, quality, and precise steps to be followed. Without standardization, you will not have the proper oversight necessary to ensure quality and productivity.
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