Do your procedures need a health check?

Catherine DeVrye believes that “we have always done it that way” are the seven most expensive words in business and yet, too many leaders and teams are guilty of saying these words every day.

Getting into a habit and being comfortable with certain practices and procedures is definitely not a bad thing – these habits can actually be the basis of the things that your team does well. The simple truth is that many of the procedures your team undergoes each day were put into place when your business, customer base, team or organisation was a lot smaller with less resources. It’s natural that as your circumstances change, your procedures do too.

Many managers are just trying to keep things under control – often sacrificing productivity and efficiency for the sake of keeping systems and procedures in place that are comfortable and known to all. Unfortunately, if you’re not ready to look for areas that could be in need of a rethink or you’re not ready to implement change, then you may need to rethink your leadership; leaders need to be unafraid of reviewing the way things have always been done and look to tune or change and guide their team through change.

So how can you identify procedures that might need to change?

  • Look at the systems and processes that have been around for a long time. It’s likely that more recently implemented processes are still functioning fairly well – it’s important to check them regularly too but focusing on the older processes will often show cracks that may be starting to appear in productivity, efficiency and general functionality.

  • Ask new team members. It’s likely that many of your team members will have ideas to improve things, so be sure to listen to everyone’s ideas but new team members don’t yet have your processes ingrained into their habits. New team members will have fresh ideas from the last organisation they were in and they will have fresh eyes to look at your procedures with, quickly identifying any areas for improvement.

No matter where or how you decide to implement change, it’s important to remember not to change things up just for the sake of change. Not only will you face plenty of resistance from team members, the exercise will end up wasting your whole team’s time adjusting to new process for no reason and with no results.

It’s also extremely important to do your homework. Put your change initiative through plenty of tests – risk vs reward, cost vs benefit etc – to ensure that you’re making the right choice. Not only is this good sense, it means that if the change somehow fails, you have the research to review your decision and possibly tune the change to make it more effective. Not every change is going to be perfect out the gate and analysis of change with the view to test, tune and adjust to gain maximum impact is a great change approach for any leader.

At the end of the day, we all want our teams to be high-performing and we want our operations to be smooth, so health-checking the way you do things is important. If there’s a better way to be operating, it’s a good idea to find it and act on it so that you can drive your team towards success.

If you’re ready to start reviewing your operations and team, People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit or call us on 0412 333 415. Our online leadership training videos start from $99 for a year’s access, with new video training added each quarter. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.