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P&P Policies and Procedures Consulting

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The Policies & Procedures Authority – The newsletter about the art of transforming workplace learning and performance through Policies & Procedures Communication

Drawing the Line between Analyzing and Performing Organizational Practices

– Raymond E. Urgo

Your responsibilities

As a policies and procedures (P&P) professional, your responsibilities include analyzing, organizing, improving, and documenting organizational practices. Your experience gathering and analyzing the information often provides you with the knowledge to actually perform the tasks you are documenting. How prepared are you to draw the line between your P&P analyst responsibility and that of the performer of the practices you are documenting?

Situation

In a mid-sized company, the person responsible for accounts receivables (AR) for 35 years suddenly decided to retire. Her manager, the controller, was faced with a predicament—the company’s modest wage scale and geographically undesirable location made it difficult to find a qualified replacement in a timely manner. Fearful of the implications from the loss of the 35 years of knowledge and the critical need to bill $5 million per month, the controller asked the company’s P&P analyst to document the AR practices. A week after the AR person retired, the position was still vacant. The controller asked the only knowledgeable person with the company—the P&P analyst—to fulfill the role. The P&P analyst was then faced with changing hats for an unknown period of time to meet this immediate need.

Tips: Actions taken

The actions taken provide valuable tips:

Remain loyal to career first. Accounts receivable, as part of accounting operations, was not part of the analyst’s career goals. However, it was important to assist the controller by collaboratively exploring solutions, while ensuring that the ongoing P&P customer commitments would still be met.

Negotiate conditions to assist. The analyst agreed to perform the critical AR tasks on heavy billing days with the help of a part-time, temporary AR clerk. On the other days, he would continue to fulfill his existing P&P analyst commitments.

Position yourself as outside expert. Because the P&P analyst did not want to be perceived as the AR replacement, he worked less conspicuous hours at the AR workstation and fulfilled his analyst’s duties during more noticeable times of the work day. He also referred to his expanded role as temporarily “assisting” with the AR function.

Expand value in your role. A few weeks later, a new AR person was hired. The analyst offered to orient, train, and mentor the new replacement, adding value as a P&P analyst. He also offered to re-evaluate the P&P content for accuracy and usability.

Determine and announce your value. When the permanent replacement was billing regularly, the analyst assessed the value he contributed to AR for the company, presented his assessment, and asked for a salary increase, which was granted.

Conclusion

To analyze and document business practices, the P&P analyst must learn the subject matter twice—once for her/himself and once for the user. The analyst is then in the very valuable and sometimes vulnerable position of having both the knowledge and the documentation about how to perform. Therefore, if you are asked to change hats, be sure to draw the line between analyzing and performing organizational practices; you, too, can then be a hero to your company.


For advice or coaching to effectively manage your career challenges and add value to your workplace learning and performance for your company, contact Urgo & Associates.