Episode 137

Delivering Consistency with Your SOPs

October 18th, 2023


Today we’re continuing our conversation about Standard Operating Procedures, and exploring more from an operational point of view.
We dive into:
  • Communicating tasks and expectations
  • Providing training and support
  • Asking for feedback
  • Creating a positive environment


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Welcome to Take Control with Nicole. As business owners, we experience firsthand the fine line between our personal and business lives. During our conversations, we will look at simple hints and tips to create time. Reduce overwhelm and help you to navigate through your journey to where you want to be.

If you are looking for smarter ways to work and create space and time freedom in your day, then you’re in the right place. All right, let’s go. Hello, I’m Nicole Smith, COO, Operations Specialist and Systems Designer at the Artisans Business Solutions and welcome to Take Control with Nicole. So over the past few weeks, we have been talking about a topic close to my heart, S. O. P. Standard operating procedures. One of those threads that we pulled through from that conversation is around how they can really support your team to deliver consistently in the ways that they work each and every day. So I thought we’d explore that a little bit more from an operational point of view to be able to look at those foundational elements.

You as a business leader can put in place to really support your team to achieve, and also to support you to feel more surrounded and supported in the way that you work each and every day. So, first and foremost, after years and years of being somebody’s assistant and also having people reporting to me, one thing that’s been really clear is when we’re communicating.

Tasks or expectations is being really clear about what they are and what you’re looking to achieve. This is delegation 101. SOPs can support the delivery of the how to do it, but in regards to what they’re doing, be really clear in terms of. How much when it’s delivered, what your expectation is from a look and feel of that set experience and really look at how much effort is involved to actually finalize that outcome.

For example, over here at the artisans, when we are communicating together and delegating responsibilities, we have a set standard way of communicating this experience. We use ClickUp as our project management tool of choice. We have an area for our I’m going to talk a client dedicated action list within there.

It’s broken down into different outcomes and deliverables. And within there, you know, individual tasks. As we are communicating within the body, we have your tasks. We’ve got the expectations. We have a walkthrough of what we’re looking to achieve to ensure. Again, we’ve created that accessibility. We have the due date.

We have the handover date completed when we know. We want to deliver this to the client or to be ready to be delivered to the client. And then we also have who is responsible overall for that client and the specific delivery. And so within that information, we’ve got all the key information. We’ve got where they’re going to find the details that they need to find.

If it’s. Creating an SOP and I designed a workflow. Where is that workflow located? Adding that loom video in to walk through the workflow again gives that audible entry point to support them. So, for instance, as we know with any SOPs or any ways of working, anything that we’re going through. There’s a lot of unspoken things that happen.

And so when you’re actually looking at a, just a diagram as its own, combine it with the workflow walkthrough. It’s a beautiful experience that our team can easily connect to and translate into that SOP document. So really being clear around those expectations and setting them at the start. So that way, as you’re going through, you’re checking in with your team, if they’ve got any questions or queries, they know exactly how to contact you.

They know exactly where all the information is and they know they feel confident to be able to really. Align their energies and their efforts to the delivery of that outcome. Not all projects or not all tasks need a huge amount of detail. However, they do need those core things. When do you need it by?

What information is important? And where do you actually find all the details? Really important sort of three things there. The next step is to provide training and support. Making sure that your team have all the information that they need to be successful. This could include our beautiful SOPs, this could include training resources, this could include time with you.

To actually see what you’re doing, how you’re doing it. As I just mentioned, there’s a lot of unspoken things that happen in the day-to-day. You’re an expert in what you’re doing because you’ve been doing this for the longest time. We acquire knowledge, you know, a recent experience. I was working with a fabulous client and we were back in Excel, looking at lots of.

Data. And I was easily in there just pressing buttons, typing in formulas without even noticing what I was doing. For example, we were creating pivot tables and now our clients, when they saw them, they’re like, what is this? How do we do this? Fabulous. I said, let me show you. And now they are confidently dancing around in Excel, creating pivot tables here, there, and everywhere.

To collect that data point that they had been missing before. So being able to actually acting as a mentor or a coach to either your clients or your team members, to be able to support them to come on that journey is such a fabulous investment of your energy and also asking for feedback as we’re going through, we want to be able to support our people in our business to really connect with what they’re working with.

If they look at something and they think, Hmm. There’s a more efficient way of doing something, or have we thought about this, that, and the other, having that feedback, having those conversations and being open to possible change, you never know what you’re going to experience and what you’re going to explore.

Another thing to think about is your actual culture at your workplace. Do you have a positive work environment? This is one that I won’t touch on too much, but I know I have been in work environments that are not so positive and I’ve been in work environments that are amazing. Now here at the artisans, we’re really here about creating a.

Sustainable workplace for my team. And so that involves meetings and connection calls and just being good humans together and having that feedback interaction. What do you think? How does this work for you? What is important for me to know? What would you like to know? And be able to really bring them along on that journey as we go through supporting our clients and continue to grow, we want to be able to support you.

As our team members to thrive and feel successful. And so to do that, it’s about listening and being an active part of that journey, being a leader that really supports your team to feel motivated. And that we’re looking to always improve things for them. That’s really forefront of how I like to run my business over here.

And it’s really exciting when I meet business leaders who are on that. Same journey because we can create some beautiful magic together in creating your systems and structures so sustainably and really enjoyable for your team going forward. So from a HR point of view, there are lots of things that you can do from leadership coaching and all sorts of things, but we’re going to just focus today on that operational way of working.

Really supporting your team to feel supported. And through that, they can actually have an experience. What these structures look like that take them from A to Z, being able to confidently know you’re there when they need you, you’ve got things in place, like your document libraries, your training, you’re open to change and feedback, really having those conversations that can transform.

Your mind as well as theirs and being able to really be nice and clear and consistent as well. If you say that you’re going to do something, be consistent. We’re going to be a model for our team people. We just look up to not look up to, but look at our leaders and how they’re operating. Gone are the days of Do as I say, not as I do.

Right. Do you remember that? Have you heard that one? I remember hearing that often when, you know, people were working themselves into the ground and like, Oh, don’t don’t do as I do do as I say. And really, when you think about that. Why wouldn’t we look at our leaders and see that they’re working till eight at night or answering emails at midnight and think, Oh, I should be doing that same thing.

If we can create this beautiful culture of the way that you’re working to support your team, it’s such a beautiful experience. And let’s be patient as well. It takes time for new people or anyone to come on board and learn a new way of working and adjust to any shifts. We need to support ourselves to support them, to support the business.

And if we’re trying to rush and push and all these things, fast, fast, fast, do, do, do, and if there’s musts and shoulds and have to, there’s going to be a little bit of potential resistance. So be patient, be a mentor. And if you don’t have the skills to do that, engage someone externally to support you on that journey, pick a leader, a change leader in your business, that’s going to be able to be that contact for that team, to be able to come in and help them on that journey.

They may not feel comfortable to come and ask you something all the time, but they may feel more comfortable to contact your second in charge or your EA or your assistant or whoever it is in your business. It’s taken the reins of this change project and they’re really loving it and being able to support them through that.

But all these things take time. Think about when you were learning to ride a bike or when you’re roller skating. I used to roller skate. I wasn’t able to do a waltz on roller skates from day one. It took time. It took weeks and weeks and weeks of practice of getting confident, of being able to turn backwards, to be able to Swing that swing through and being able to stand up tall with my head elevated and really confidently skate around that rank.

That’s the same for anything new for your business or anything shifting and evolving. It takes time to embed change and be positive. Oh, it’s easy to say, right, when we’ve got all the things happening. But when we are looking at things that, at that light, if anything is possible and what an opportunity, it creates a beautiful, positive impact and really results in orientated work.

You know, really focused in on, there’s always a way. How can we do it? Curiosity becomes just the normal conversation and we celebrate questions and we really look at that. Larity that we’re looking at for each and every one of our team members. And you’ll start to see your team members advocating for each other.

And it’s such a beautiful experience to witness when everybody is working together for that common good, that way of working, that delivery that you’re looking to achieve. If someone’s not, you know, having a great time, someone else will come in and support us to get that thing done. And that is really exciting when we’re working all together as a unit to be able to really, you know, support that a delivery of action to.

Create that consistency because a, we’ve got the tools and assets already in there. So whoever can come in knows exactly what’s going on. They know exactly where they are. We’ve documented and captured all of those intricacies that are relative to each individual client. So whoever it is in the business can come on in and add that sparkle that is unique to your business and keep that consistency of experience.

Across wherever and whatever is happening. Well, have a moment today to think about whether is there anything that you’re doing in your business right now that you could tweak a little bit to really focus on that support for your team to be able to really give them that opportunity to succeed and to be able to enjoy what they’re doing even more.

Thank you for joining us today and have the most fabulous rest of your week, creating clever systems for your business. Bye now. Well, there we go. Thank you so much for joining me today. It’s been such a pleasure having you on board. Have we connected on the socials yet? If not, please come on over and say hi.

I’m on all the platforms @theartisanssolutions,  So I’d really look forward to seeing you over there. And if you enjoyed today’s episode, don’t forget to tag me. And I’d love it if you could leave a review and of course, share this with others so others can come and join us next time. All right, then everyone have a fabulous rest of the week.

And until next time, see you then.


Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.