The Streamlined Business Blog

The Streamlined Business Blog is all about getting—and keeping—Operations Under Control by implementing good business systems, processes, and standard operating procedures. Our staff experts blog regularly on a range of topics including: Operations Mapping approaches, systems-based management, standardizing operations, calculating costs and ROI for systems improvements and a whole lot more.

Writing tips: standard operating procedures

What Hurts? Addressing Points of Pain with Policies and Procedures

  Admittedly, Hemingway probably had something more poetic in mind than SOPs, but the advice still holds. Clients implement Zavanta software for a variety of reasons, chief among them are growing pains. Whether it is the confusion that seems to strike at around 50 employees, fast growth, or operations that are so borderline non-operational-it hurts. READ MORE

Writing- the Foundation of Good Policies and Procedures

I spent a lot of time thinking about writing. I spend a lot of time reading about writing. And yes, I also write about writing. It is a baseline for most of my client conversations, because without writing you can’t get to the sharing and managing part of SOPs. You need content to share and READ MORE

SOPs – Why Not Just the Steps?

This question comes up a lot in Zavanta Coaching sessions. To save time and get to the point,  why not just list the steps for how to do a task?  Clearly, the action steps are one of the biggest parts of SOPs. But, step by steps  are not the only information that makes for good READ MORE

The Recipe for Good SOPs

Cookbooks and recipes actually provide a pretty good jumping off point for understanding how to set up SOPs. They tell you what you need. They give you the steps in the order you need them. They use pictures. They are easy to read. As anyone who has ever made cookies can attest, the closer your READ MORE

Thanks, Entrepreneur Magazine for these lists of writing tips

Here are two great references for those of us trying to get our minds around writing.   Laura Hale Brockway shares tips for the professional writing, but many of them are applicable to those of us writing policies and procedures as well. The big take away- write clearly!  Get to the point. Read the list here: READ MORE

How smart do you have to be to assemble an IKEA shelf?

So you just bought a shelving set at IKEA and go home to set it up. You crack open the box and the instructions. Can you put together without a degree in Engineering? The IKEA assembly problem is so common it’s gotten to be a joke! Chances are you can muddle through the instructions until READ MORE


If Your Procedures Sound Like Shakespeare, You Might Want to Reconsider

If, your answer be “Yes” then goeth to step 17a, but if no goeth to the next step wherefore you can prepare to move to step 17b. If “maybe” then henceforth see HR Procedure 127.5 line 7 …. While this might be slightly exaggerated, it is not all that far off from the kind of READ MORE

Top Tip for Writing Easy-to-Follow Step Instructions

If you want one simple, easy to remember rule for writing policies and procedures, work instructions, and employee manuals that get good results, this is it! Start each step with an Action Verb. It takes a little discipline to apply this but you’ll be amazed at how effective it is at keeping your instructions clear, READ MORE

Tip – Use S-V-O Pattern for Reader-friendly Procedures

If your goal is writing reader-friendly procedures and policies that get read and used consider how you write your sentences. In addition to using simple, direct terms avoid unnecessarily complex syntax. Subject verb object is the easiest sentence pattern in English to read and understand. It follows the pattern: who is kicking whom.Examples:•    The attorney READ MORE

What’s the Right Level of Detail for Procedures and Work Instructions?

Two common mistakes people make when writing policies and procedures involve opposite sides of the same coin—Not enough detail or Too much detail.  Some policies and procedures fail because they are so vague and generic that people can’t use them.  Other policies and procedures are so long-winded and complex that people can’t follow or understand READ MORE

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