When you catch a fly ball out in left field, it’s not always the best time to do a victory dance.

I know this from experience.

Much to my own embarrassment.

I was only 10 years old or so, in elementary school, out in a field playing softball in gym class. I had no idea what I was doing, so they put me as far away from the action as possible. On this particular day, the bat cracked and the ball came streaking straight toward me. I closed my eyes and stuck my hand up in the air. (true story!) Don’t even remember feeling the ball hit my glove, but I do remember my amazement when I opened my eyes and saw it sitting there.

Well, I did watch TV (The Bad News Bears!) so I definitely knew what to do when you catch a fly ball out in  left field.  I started to do a victory dance!

Several moments later (too late!), I looked up long enough to notice the bases emptying out onto the home plate. You never know who’s going to hold the success of your team in the palms of their hands. Do you really want to take the chance they’ll know what to do with it?

I could use this little story to talk about a lot of things: team work, communication, learning and development, the evils of watching too much TV. But today, I want to talk about policies and procedures.

I’ve come up against the working end of policies and procedures plenty of times in my career. The scariest time was in my corporate days when I picked up Quantum and discovered there were no documented policies or procedures for this highly transactional vendor that had a different process for everything they sold. Overnight I took ownership of a $21 million annual revenue business and had to keep it going while, at the same time, learning how to keep it going.

The second scariest time was when I opened my own Virtual Assistant business and had to give some thought to what policies and procedures I want to write myself.

I encourage everyone to document their policies and procedures and for several good reasons:

  1. The process takes you out of the daily work for a time and allows you to think about the business.
  2. It gives you the chance to make decisions and solidify your preferences.
  3. It gives you a chance to think about why you made those decisions.
  4. It helps you and your employees know what decisions to make in specific situations.
  5. it helps new employees (or Virtual Assistants) get up to speed on the business faster.

Documented policies and procedures are living, growing organisms, in the same way that your business is living and growing. As your business evolves over time, so too will the policies and procedures that support it.

It’s OK if you don’t have a complete list of every possible thing. The most commonly used ones will be easiest to think of and will be added to the list first. More obscure things can be added later as they come up.

It doesn’t even need to be your, the business owner’s, job to document them. Your assistant, or Virtual Assistant, can help assemble the list for your review and approval.

The important thing is that you take some time once in a while to look at them and think about them and make sure they are serving your business in the best possible way.