Policy is formalized practice.
Your organization has been doing something for so long that it becomes part of its identity. It formalizes it by taking approval of the management. Now, not one can go against a formalized practice. While one may not be penalized always if one dithers, there is no incentive to.
Policy is not just formalized practice.
Policies are powerful tools to bring about change in an organization, to even go against a formalized practice. In these cases, going against the policy can result in penal actions.
The Objectives of Policy
It is to make the operations smoother, the delivery smarter. It is to eliminate ambiguity as much as possible and help decision-makers take decisions in a faster and more informed way. It is to make knowledge transfer simple and succession planning seamless.
The Requirement of SOP
SOP, for the uninitiated, refers to Standard Operating Procedures. If your organization has wonderful policies, but yet the talent retention is not great, your employees complain against the bureaucratic nature of your organization, your delivery men are frustrated and power circles have evolved within your organizations, it is because your organization does not have enough SOPs.
Use this thumb rule:
For a great organization, Number of SOPs : Number of Policies >> 1.
Much greater than 1 would reflect that the policy makers are aware of the ground realities and have painstakingly developed and curated their SOPs and/or, the policy makers constantly have an ear to the shop floor and listen to the difficulties faced by the customers (internal or external) as also the delivery men.
The Bottom Line: Writing and adopting policies are not enough. You need evolving SOPs to back them up. Then you might just be able to attain the objectives of policy-making.
Amartya Dey, India
Other Articles by the Author:
- The First Rule of Negotiation
- Human Aspect: The Context of Power
- Human Aspect: Beware of the Exceptional Employee
- Human Aspect: Importance of Precedent
- Two Levers: Potential & Tacit Knowledge (Part I)
- Breaking Organizational Silos (Part I)
- Working More than 12 Hours?
- The Abuse of the 360º Feedback System