The 3 Ps of Business: How Are They Different and Why Do They Matter?

ProcessesSuccessful businesses have three things in common: effective policies, processes, and procedures. We can refer to these as the three Ps. Each employee in a company has their own set of rules to follow as they complete work tasks, and it is critical for the prolonged success of a business to ensure that each employee understands the company’s three Ps.

The problem is that far too many businesses struggle to both define and differentiate their three Ps, leading to confusion among employees and the muddling together of these three fundamentally different but equally essential elements.

Understanding the three Ps is important for creating and maintaining a complete working system. Too often do we see businesses implementing only one or two of the three Ps, yet all three elements are equally necessary in order to properly delegate job tasks and ensure continued productivity and profitability.

I’ve outlined below the definitions of and key differences between each of our three Ps. It is my belief that understanding these three elements is one of the key determinants of success in any business.

  1. Policy

A policy is a guideline used to set direction in an organization. Without such guidelines, there is much more room for error in your business. An example of a policy that is prevalent in today’s business world pertains to email. Common email policy within a business often includes rules regarding imitating others, the use of foul language, and malicious content.

Policies should be seen as courses of action to guide and influence the decision-making process in your business. With clear and effective policies comes increased efficiency and the mitigation of avoidable mistakes that threaten productivity as well as your bottom line.

  1. Process

A process is the high-level overview of a task. In other words, the process is the expanded view, or “map”, that defines exactly how an objective can be reached, from start to finish.

Take a moment to think about any task that may be required to be completed in your business. What steps must be taken in order to complete that task? At any level in your organization, it is critical to have processes with clearly defined objectives as well as steps to take in order to reach these objectives. Whether you are an intern or senior management, you need processes that plainly outline your objectives and how to meet them.

  1. Procedure

Building on what we now understand about the high-level nature of a process, a procedure refers to the series of steps required in order to complete a task. If the process can be seen as a map, then the procedure covers the directions to reach the destination. If the task is posting a blog, then the procedure would detail the exact steps that must be taken to complete the task from start to finish.

As you can now see, the three P’s are interconnected, yet fundamentally different from each other. Each of these elements must be present in order to encourage maximum productivity in your business.

Creating, maintaining, and continually updating your policies, processes, and procedures mitigates avoidable mistakes and ensures that every employee at every level of your business knows what is expected of him or her, and how to achieve their clearly defined objectives.

How are your three Ps? Do you think you are giving them the attention they deserve?

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