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How can standard procedures help your organisation?

Written by on 14 March 2011

For many years, the military have employed the use of SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). These are procedures that cover the basic functions of the organisation (Battalion, Brigade, Division etc). They can be extensive documents that describe the format and frequency of communications through to how operations are conducted. SOPs are derived from military tactical publications and tailored to meet the specific technical requirements of the unit (mechanised, air mobile etc) and the localised environment.

Why have standard operating procedures?

As the name suggests all unity should share the same basic operating procedures. This provides a basic blue print as to how units should work together. This methodology provides practical glue that enables units that have never worked together, to plan and implement complex operations in real time. It is the basis for flexible resourcing solutions that allow the military to employ specialist skills when required to augment unit capabilities against task.

Packaging capability around tasks

The utilisation of SOPs means that each military formation does not need to maintain it’s own specialist capability, leaving the unit to concentrate on its core function (normally this is a combat role). As all units share a common methodology, they can be grouped together to produce an appropriate effect against a task - therefore producing a very efficient organisational design against a volatile and complex operating environment.

Efficient (non-duplication of capabilities)

The centralisation of specialist skills prevents the duplications of valuable resources that would produce an unsustainable drain on resources.

Mutual understanding

The shared methodology enshrined in SOPs encapsulates shared thinking and a common culture. It also captures valuable attributes that are critical to success.

Robust foundations

The SOPs provide a robust foundation from which rapid development and exploitation can take place. The ability to bolt capability and “chop” task functions from one unit to another retains a flexible implementation system that retains a responsive agility to emerging and rapidly changing environments.

Efficiency of shared understanding

The adoption of SOPs by the military dramatically reduces the time spent communicating meaning whilst also speeding up decision-making, implementation and action cycles. This therefore increases the relative competitive advantage of the organisation.

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