Lack of Operations Manuals Stunting Your Growth?

By: Mike Hayden

Lack of Operations Manuals stunting your growth?


1. Do you lack functional Operations Manuals?

2. Use a SYSTEM to write your Operations Manuals!

3. Yes, but my people just don't/won't write stuff down!

4. But people WILL write stuff down - if ...

5. Call to Action.

1. Do you lack functional Operations Manuals?

Great businesses depend on systems, not people.

That's because you can duplicate systems, but not people.

If your business can't duplicate salable results, it won't survive. Duplication is Nature's Survival Law.

If your organization lacks Operations Manuals, your growth and success will be limited due to lack of a duplicable (documented) system.

2. You can use a SYSTEM to write your Operations Manuals!

Extraordinary people don't build great businesses. Ordinary people produce extraordinary results using a duplicable system. That's how you build a great business.

The faster you develop good Operations Manuals the faster you will have a great business!

3. Yes, but my people just don't/won't write stuff down!

You will hear many excuses and attitudes for why people don't write Operations Manuals.

'We just don't have enough time.'

'It's not my job man! You hired me to be a [manager, programmer, accountant, engineer, whatever]. I'm not a writer!'

'I hate to write. Who needs it!'

'Whenever I feel like writing, I lie down until the feeling goes away.'

'It's different here. Things change too fast. The minute we write something down, it's obsolete...'

These are typical objections people express. But, one of the most UNexpressed fears is:

'If I document my job in an Operations Manual, I can be replaced! I'll lose my job!'

No wonder so few organizations have Operations Manuals!

4. But people WILL write stuff down - if ...

. and only if they can realize a benefit!

Let's face it.

You can grow your organization ONLY if you can promote and/or replace your employees. Thus, you and your team can MOVE UP only if you can replace yourselves.

And you can do this by documenting your positions in well-organized Operations Manuals.

'Mike! Are you saying that by writing stuff down in Operations Manuals we'll receive more raises, promotions, and vacations.'


These goodies are not available without your company's growth and prosperity!

Did you know most business start-ups fail while most franchises succeed. Successful franchises use a documented management system ... in short ... Operations Manuals!

'But Mike, our company is not a 'franchise!''

Neither is mine.

But SMS has a documented management system, including about 13,000 pages of Operations Manuals.

When anyone or I want to know how to do something, all we need do is pull a manual off the shelf. What could be easier? There's near zero 'tribal knowledge' here.

We can relocate on a moment's notice with minimum hassle.

I know of many companies that wanted to move from California.

Suddenly, they were faced with hiring many new, inexperienced employees in another state.

Suddenly, they were faced with writing (insufficient) Operations Manuals literally as-they-packed!

Believe me, displaced employees were less than cooperative! And those who moved with the company inherited enormous problems due to poor - or no - documentation.

So, here's my advice. Start now!

Develop a set of Operations Manuals where you collect information that governs how your company's positions function.

At SMS, we have at least one 3-ring binder for every position on our Org Chart.

Develop your Operations Manuals in a standard format containing at least the following information for each position.

ACCOUNTABILITY - Specify the position's accountabilities.

STANDARDS - Specify the standards for the position. Include the policies that define / limit the position's authority and the position holder's general conduct.

WORK INSTRUCTIONS - Specify how the position's work will be performed.

GENERAL INFORMATION - Provide information about your organization, your products and services, your competition, etc. Include other material that enriches the position holder's understanding of the working environment.

INTERFACE - Describe how the position interfaces with:

  • Its superior position.
  • Its subordinate positions.
  • Peer position(s) with frequent contact.
  • Non-peer staff positions with frequent contact.
  • The 'Outside World' (customers, vendors, etc.).

You can design your manuals to have five sections each as follows.

  3. POLICY SECTION Company-wide policies:
  4. SYSTEMS SECTION Action plans, sample forms, flowcharts, scripts, collateral materials, etc.
  5. LOGIC SECTION Explain the principles behind the position's work.

5. Call to Action.

To review, your Operations Manuals are collection points for information that governs functioning of positions on your Org Chart.

I sent you this eZine to give you an outline to ease development of your Operations Manuals.

As you've probably guessed, developing Operations Manuals is a big task. I've done it often for many clients. If I be of assistance, just send me an email.

Together, we can document what you want, how you want it, and when you want it. We will discuss various creative approaches before the project begins.

Mike Hayden


Your partner in streamlining business.

For more information,



(c) 2003 Mike Hayden, All rights reserved. You may use material from the Profitable Venture Tactics eZine in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live website link and email link.

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