There are so many layers: strategies, accounts, policies, standard operating procedures, appendicies, flow charts, risk assessments…papers papers papers. It’s no wonder people can’t remember them all. I wonder if we get it right first time, made them understandable, accessible and useful could we reduce the rest of that paper?
Classic response when things go wrong: policy not followed. I remember someone in tears and distraught when they were berated for this. It was actually the very first time I started to think: how can information be more memorable and understandable? If a policy is not followed, there’s something wrong with the policy and systems in place that are allowing this deviation. It’s very rare that a person actually intentionally goes against a known policy (most of the time!) if they don’t know the policy, that’s usually because it has not been applied in practice on a system wide level. If they forget, they shouldn’t be punished, but supported to build their knowledge and hey, why not ask them…what could be put in place to help remind them?
I also wonder, does anyone ever test out policies in terms of collaborative input, small scale testing and refining the drafts following application in reality? Is methodology used to help ensure it is the best possible version? Or do we all just chase that renewal date?
Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a real need for policies having written a few myself, but it does seem like they are forever increasing and losing their purposes – some of which are listed in the graphic above. I fully understand they are linked to laws, governing bodies, regulations…etc. But that doesn’t mean they have to be confusing, forgettable and well…boring.