Death By Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs)

SOPs are overrated.

There I said it.

The number of digital and creative agency owners that I talk to that think SOPs (standard operating procedures) are the "key" to removing themselves from their business have it all wrong.

I know, cuz I've been there.

You learn of SOPs and start documenting everything you do.

The problem?

You do too much stuff as it is so you end with thousands of SOPs but you never USE them FREQUENTLY enough to benefit from having them in the first place.

It's death by 1000 SOPs.

"But, Greg, having SOPs will make my business run without me?"


"But, Greg, my agency is more likely to sell if everything is documented".


You're wasting your time if you spend countless hours documenting things.

In today's video, I'll break down the fast and simple way to delegate things and remove them from your plate.

Transcript / MP3

[inaudible] I think everybody overhyped and glorifies SLPs. Now I love them. We have a lot of them, but if you don't have these things, if you don't have this dialed in, and the reason I know this is true is because it happened to us. You'll create SLPs for everything, and you'll never use the SOP frequently enough to benefit from the fact of having an SOP in the first place, but you'll have wasted all this time documenting stuff. So that being said, here's a few ways that we approach this first. I got to give a shout out to, um, my friend, Chris, Ron Zio, uh, runs a company called tranquil. Uh, it's all about, ... uh, it's a software for building, uh, training manuals for your team for other people to do so. Like if you want to train someone to do stuff, but he, he, he says, there's something really powerful here.

I think the, this concept of SLPs and documenting stuff, so you can give it to other people is taken too far in many cases. Um, and what he says is there's actually a, a line there's a, there's a difference between learning to do and doing, you don't want to hire someone and have them always having to read your SOP to do the work. That's not efficient. You want to hire smart people and you want to teach them and train them using a document or an SOP to do the thing that you want them to like, learn how to do it. But then when they go to do it every single day, they shouldn't need that SOP anymore. So the SOP I think of is more of like a here's the SOP to like, get you dialed into the process as a whole, but then likely what you're going to have is some sort of daily checklist or weekly checklist that is, if you do those things, you'll have achieved the result of what that SOP shows you, how to do.

Does that make sense? And so if we can agree that that makes more sense than hiring a VA and having them follow this 12 page SOP, every single time they do a step, which is what a lot of people teach, hire someone that is smart and you can teach them how to do it upfront, and then they're free to do it, you know, each and every time, but they have a checklist of some sort to kind of gut check and make sure that they're doing it correctly. A lot of these things come into play is when you're going to hire someone to do something for you, right? Like you're going to hire a VA or an executive assistant or a salesperson or a marketing assistant, whatever. Right. So, um, I learned this actually from a combination of the book who, and a guy by the name of Alex Charfen and they talk about this thing called a job scorecard.

Um, and a simplified version of that in my opinion, is what Alex Charfen calls the four R document. Now the four R document as a document, literally imagined literally a Google document. Okay. And it's broken up into four sections role. So this role is the role of the marketing associate. And you are response like you are like kind of a paragraph of like big picture overview review of the role and the definition of the role and importance of the role. Right? Then we have, um, role, we have responsibilities. Then we have, um, uh, results that we expect this person to create. And then we have our requirements, okay, Google doc that has these four things on it, broken up when we want to hire anybody, they do not get hired. If this document does not exist first, and we need to have all of these sections filled out.

And so really what we look at is, okay, what are the, the results you can call this KPIs or whatever, like, what is the outcome that should be, uh, achieved when this person does these things that they are responsible for? What skills did they and experiences they need to have in order to achieve Cedric that's right. So like you, if you can fill out these four sections for the thing that you want to hand off, you'll be very clear, right? What you'll find often is you might have executive assistant as the, you know, the role here and you might realize that Holy crap, we, we expect them to like, like have a lot of responsibilities. You might say, Oh, wow. Like this is actually is more than an executive assistant role. This might be, you know, a marketing assistant. This might be a sales rep.

Like one thing that I think happens is that we, we obviously wear multiple hats. Even if you are wearing multiple hats, I think you should do this document for each of those hats. Because at some point you're not going to offload all of the hats. They're going to probably offload one of them at a time. And they might be, have to be separate people like our executive assistant. She got really good at one area of things. And she evolved into taking on more stuff, which then we needed her to offload the stuff that she's now no longer doing. And we needed that, defined it as a role, right? Like she was, Oh, it's actually a marketing assistant. So like, what does she do? What are all the things she's doing that is tied to marketing assistant? Right? So this document unlocks to the, um, if we look at kind of this section here, if we look at this responsibilities, this can be broken into, um, a few things.

The first thing is the communication cycle. Um, this is real. I think this is really important if you have a team or if you're trying to grow a team or offload stuff. Um, and there's an internal and an external potentially. So what I mean by that is the role, the role might be externally facing. So like if you're an executive assistant internal communication is, Hey, here's when we talk as a team Monday, Wednesday, Friday, here's how we talk. We use Slack, we use a zoom call at these times. Here's the protocol for how we use Slack, the channels, the rules, blood, whatever external is, Oh, you're going to be talking to vendors. And here's the cadence. We do an X, we do an event once a quarter. So once a quarter, you're going to be talking to a hotel or an event organization, company, or a like, who are you talking to at?

What frequency, how are you communicating with them? Because then when you go to hire, if you're say you're hiring someone who has external communication, a sales rep, and they have no experience using it, using zoom or using a telephone, you're probably not going to want them to be on the phone, selling people, right? Like they don't know how to do use these things. And so it really starts to become a filter for how we hire. So you have your four R document. You write out in a document, Hey, here's our internal communication. Here's the potential external communication for you in this role. And then the piece that you're, you're all waiting for is, is this one, which is the second, which is just the basically daily checklist. So for each role, um, we have a document that is broken up into three parts. And that basically is beginning of the day.

And I love the day end of the day. And we say, these are the activities that you should be doing at the beginning of the day, the middle of the day. So ultimately we design a structure for what their day should look like. Now, depending upon the role people's days might change from day to day. So you might need to say, Hey, Monday, Wednesday, Friday is looked like this. Or, you know, once every week, this is what your, your days look like. Or once every month, this is what your days look like. But pretty much 80% of the time, this is what your day looks like. And this starts to give you like a framework for when someone comes on board, here's here. Here's the SOP that you all need. Okay. Record a video talking through this document. Okay. So, Hey, this video is me walking through your responses, the, as the executive assistant.

So here's what the role is all about. Read whatever you wrote here, your responsibilities include, read whatever is on this document. Like literally walk through this document. All right. And video one, you have one video, do another video, talking about communications, do the last video about their daily checklists. You have three, the videos that when you hire this person, you say, Hey, watch these three videos. That's your onboarding. Let's get like, then you can jump into them. Um, kind of getting started and which I recommend a process, um, which I believe I learned from, um, Dan Sullivan from strategic coach. And it's a three-step process. It's I do. We do. You do. So you're gonna watch me do it. Then we're going to do it together. And then I'm going to watch you do it. So the same task. And so they get to shadow you, you guys do it together. Then you let them do it on their own and you watch over their shoulder without helping. And you, you kind of go through that process on, on the different things you might have on that daily checklist. Like I would do that. I would do this for pretty much every little thing that's on this document.

And if you, you take the couple of weeks of bringing someone on to help you and you give them that you will have probably totally offloaded all of those things way faster than you possibly could have imagined. And it would be way easier than, you know, expecting them to go sift through this 40 page document. Hey, so I hope you liked that little segment. That was from an interview that I just did recently. And I really time and time again, have seen so many people kind of take this whole SOP thing overboard, and I hope this found you in a place where it now seems a little bit simple blur and more manageable, and you can create a couple, couple of videos, a couple of resources really quickly, and be onboarding someone to take things off your plate really quickly and have them up to speed.

So if you, uh, enjoyed this video, please, please go ahead and click subscribe because we release a new video each and every week. And, uh, if you want to get more free training like this, uh, check out our free Facebook group. There's a link below in the description. I do a live training similar to this every single Wednesday in that group. And we'd love to have you just visit all forward slash group, or check out that link in the description. Okay. And leave you with this. Leave a comment. What is the biggest takeaway that you've had around SLPs and handy and delegating things off that you've got from this video, drop that in the comments and let's have a conversation about it, and I'll see you there.


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