Interim Executive Felda Looper on Standard Operating Procedures
The hallmark of efficient companies lies in the mapping and documentation of standard operating procedures
On this week’s podcast of Business Today, we spoke to Interim Executive Felda Looper on her experiences and the importance of having standard operating procedures in place. She has a very varied background and done many things in her career that include starting a profitable retail business in her twenties, and standing with a team in the embassy in Iraq.
In her thirty years, she has found organizing standard operating procedures and processes to be an important part of her management. Felda says,
First of all whenever people make assumptions, and you don’t have standard operating procedures, not knowing exactly who is going to do what then you’re going to be in a trouble. Because standard operating procedures in my professional opinion are paramount in having an organization that runs efficiently and effectively. That is sort of the big deal when you just assume everybody knows what they’re doing. Because you know what happens when you make assumptions. Standard operating procedures is my big thing. If you don’t have standard operating procedures, you will not be efficient. Bottom line.
She also shared an experience where she stepped into a company with no documented processes. In a very short period of time, Felda was able to fix that:
It took me the first couple of weeks to figure out where their problems were, where the issues lie and to go in and to be an interim operating officer when there are no standard operating procedures in place – that is the first smack in the face. Because if you don’t have your system, your processes mapped out, you don’t know what to do. And when you assume that somebody knows what they’re supposed to do, here’s your job description, here’s what you’re supposed to do in a job description, that’s fine, you know what’s expected of you. But when you don’t have standard operating procedures for what you do then and map out your processes, then you kind of take it on the fly then building your plane as you’re flying it.
What I did when I went into that last organization is I literally mapped each of the processes with the process owners. Put the paper on the wall and easily walk right through all the processes, this is what happens. It’s amazing how many people have their hands into that process, like when I got them into the room to map the processes, they were not on the same page with each other on how things are done. And after the hour or two that it took us to go through those processes, with everybody saying well this happens, well no that happens first and then this happens. It’s amazing to see the dynamic once we’re finished with it, now we have a standard operating procedure in place that everybody can agree on. Everybody understands how it works and then you know exactly how things are working. I love to see the dynamic when I do that. It’s surprising what little time anyone has to put towards something like this, but as they see the time it can save, they love it. They just want to jump in and do it.