Independent Thinking Blog

Process and Procedures

I’ve been hearing a lot about process and procedures.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell is assembling a binder full of women to look at his sports league’s process and procedures. I guess his thinking is that if they had a different step-wise process then they would have meted out different punishment in response to one of their star athletes cold-cocking his then-fiancee.

Bud this was not a process failure, as this terrific investigative article makes clear.

Process and procedures are really important.

There’s a reason we have employee handbooks, manufacturing manuals, customer service scripts, style guides, and so forth.

Businesses need to have processes and procedures. The right structures facilitate everything from fair handling of employees to consistency of customer experience. They ensure that every organization doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel every time an employee takes an action or makes a decision.

Process and procedures are not a substitute for leadership.

The NFL’s process worked fine.

The athlete received a suspension and his team got the slap-on-the-wrist outcome it wanted.

The problem for the NFL is that, this time, viewers went to the videotape. And not in that awesome, sports hero kind of way.

Sign: Danger, Wrong Way

It’s not just the NFL that gets this wrong.

On Thursday afternoon, I asked for a copy of the agenda for my condo board’s meeting a few hours later. The response: No.

(Well, actually it was worse: “The new condo act states that at least one copy of the agenda should be made available for inspection by unit owners…Section 303 B-3. The agenda will be made available at the meeting.”)


I immediately wrote a letter to the Board of Directors. Here’s the board president’s response:

“We discussed this issue in the meeting today and will be providing more guidance on the format and procedures of the board meeting at the next board meeting.”

Yes, I’m banging head on desk.

Don’t neglect process and procedures in your business. But please don’t hide behind them either.

Photos by Anuko and James Callan (Flickr).

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