Tuesday July 1 2014

Creating task recipes makes your work easy

By Dorothy M. Tuma

My friend Susan teaches people how to cook in their home kitchens. She has a list of six dishes that she teaches all her clients how to make.

The dish recipes are so simple and easy to follow, that after just 12 hours of tutoring, Susan’s clients are cooking like experts. She says the trick is in the simple recipes that she hands out.
Each dish is made with less than 10 ingredients, in less than 10 steps.

By following the recipes, clients are soon able to make each dish taste and look the way it is supposed to every single time.
Are the steps to getting things done in your company documented on paper or stored away in peoples’ heads? Documentation provides numerous benefits and is not as complicated as you might imagine it to be.
Think of it as an opportunity to write down the recipes to complete different tasks in the company.

The next time you perform a recurring activity, write each step down. Alternatively, make a list of all the recurring activities and list the steps involved in completing each one.

When you next actually perform those activities check your lists (recipes) for accuracy. Insert any steps you might have missed when you first wrote them down.
If you are an event planner, there are a set of activities that must be conducted for every single client project. Do you have a list of everything that must be done in preparation for each first client meeting?

How about a list of questions that must be asked at that first client meeting in order for you to fully understand the new assignment? Susan’s clients soon become expert cooks by following her simple recipes.

Similarly, your employees will become experts at performing their tasks by repeatedly doing them the same way. Documentation makes doing things the same way every time much easier.

Freedom to delegate
By following a recipe, anyone can prepare a dish in the absence of the recipe’s author. A business will no longer depend on just one person to return customer calls or deliver orders. The business will run smoothly even on days when someone is away.

Easier new hire orientation
New employees will learn how to do their job faster if they can follow documented instructions. They will not have to experiment in order to complete a task. Their orientation will be smoother and faster.

Same results every time
By following a recipe each time, you ensure that a particular dish will look and taste the same every single time. Similarly, by documenting first client meeting preparation steps and first meeting questions, the above event planner will provide every single client the same attentive service every time.

Although documented processes deliver even more benefits than those mentioned above, they should not be viewed as cast in stone. Permit continuous improvement. Just remember to document the changes.

E-mail: dorothy_tuma@dmtconsultants.net