I like to be experimental when it comes to cooking, even the most regular dishes cooked in our home have the same core ingredients with items added and used up according to what I have available in my kitchen that day, making every chilli con carne, bolognaise sauce etc., all similar yet different. My family have accepted my flexible, creative approach and I know their likes / dislikes well.

My husband is my opposite and likes to have a recipe to follow and if it can have any variations he wants clear guidance on what, when and how – more a confidence issue to be fair as he doesn’t often cook.

Are you like me in the home and use the environment to experiment or are you more like my husband?

This got me thinking about our different approaches and the effect in the workplace.

In business there are times and situations when my approach is acceptable and a time when it is not. However, in your business would you team members know when they can change the recipe or process and when it is not appropriate to do so. Do you communicate this with them and if so how and what happens when they do change the process or recipe – is this documented so you know for future reference?

National food and drink brands have clear recipes, guidelines and procedures including specific ingredients, length of cooking times etc. As a consumer we have an expectation where we can drop into any national brand restaurant in the country and the taste is the same and if there is a possibility there might be a difference we are usually notified with comments such as ‘improved’.
Local restaurants use this as an opportunity to be clear that they source local produce and each item on the menu is subject to changes due to ‘the availability of locally produce’ and often put new recipes on their ‘specials’ board, often to test the changes and feedback.

There some businesses where changes are constant due to circumstances outside of their control such as working in client’s environments where adaptations are necessary, and a bespoke service is required. Such are fitting kitchens, heating systems, irrigation, electrical works. Often what is planned is not how it works out due to circumstances they did not know about until they were working on the project.

Do you have documented processes and procedures, with clear guidance on when a process adaptation is acceptable and what is the process to record any changes?
A client had a new recruit join them during the lock-down period and with their processes and procedures digitally available enabled the new team member to be up and running quickly. Including the entire on-boarding process and understanding how to measure when they were executing their tasks well. The line manager could also review their activities and support their on-boarding process easily as covered in the process manual. The new team member fed back their experience as a part of the process, thus adding value every step of the way and both parties making changes to the process manual where appropriate, agreed and accepted part of the practice in line with company guidelines.

NOTE… it is important to keep these documents simple. All documents need to be in line with delivering to your business values and vision and writing is only the first step, consistently reviewed and updated is when these documents create their real value.

FACT – companies that have full documented processes and procedures that are consistently reviewed, often by people who do not regularly do that specific process, with a culture of ‘is there a better way of doing this’ and continually looking for the 1% improvements are those who are valued at a higher price that those who do not. Why because the recipe in my head is not easily replicated by another who does not know what ingredients I use, the processes I use to cook or what is my thought pattern when I change it.

Succession Planning is a holistic approach to systemising a business to be a fully functioning business that is NOT reliant on you or any one person… otherwise it is most likely considered worthless to buyers or investors. Most UK business owners liquidate their business because they leave it too late to put a plan in place due to their own or a close relative suffering a life changing illness or they simply lose their mojo and walk away.

Get a succession strategy and plan in place NOW to make the most from your life’s work.

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