I want to throw a question out there for discussion. I read recently a comment Mark made stating

[quote]At first, I was going to say to just develop your own, as most SPECIFIC forms are TRULY fruit of the organizational tree.

But that's not right.

The right answer is: I don't recommend specialized forms at all for your situation. I believe it's those kinds of "behaviors" that make up the sclerosis that makes small firms feel big, and by big in this case I mean the pejorative. Forms grow, metastasize, and send the wrong message about the "right" way to do things.

It got me thinking. I too am in a small business where forms, structure, and organization are essentially non-existent. The boss (owner) instinctively recoils from structure and all forms and finds them very abrasive. I on the other hand find them mostly useful when applied in the proper manner. Many employees here find them annoying because for years they have not had to work within any sort of structure.

So the question I pose is, when do you know if forms and structure are too constricting, too abrasive, or too oppressive. Can structure lead to a pejorative and/or condescending tone towards employees? If so, how do you avoid that to make structure and form work to your benefit?


James Gutherson's picture

I come from a Quality Management background so my first responce to no forms is "Get thee behind me Satan :twisted: " :kidding:

Look at where there are consistant errors, mistakes and rework. By applying some form of control, and that MAY be forms, you can reduce this extra work and make life easier for everyone.

asteriskrntt1's picture

Once I was a regional manager for a small chain of discount electronic stores (7 of them) and it had horrible inventory management controls. Every month, I would go do inventory and the numbers were way off.

The owner INSISTED that I go store-to-store and hand write all the counts etc. I told him we needed to standardize the store databases and use preprinted forms and only count stock that was material. He resisted until his annual report came in and the auditors told him he was a mess, particularly his inventory. The auditor asked for some samples and upon seeing them, asked... WTF is this? For the next inventory count, I got the dbases standardized and preprinted sheets that people could actually read and analyze data from.

Bottom line, if it needs to be traced, needs to be used for proof or detail of a transaction or process, find a way to "formalize" it. I am not saying you need to implement an ERP system or spend a ton of money, but a simple form or checklist can save you untold hours and $$$$.