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When our beautiful state of Montana issued the first stay-at-home directive in March 2020 due to COVID-19, there was a mad dash to figure out what this meant for employees and their ability to continue to do their job. But unfortunately, it came to light that many were quite unprepared for such an event.

There was a lot of uncertainty around how businesses and employees would access company data and applications. For example, who should have access to what, and will a giant security hole be opened once workers connect in from home?

This state of chaos was commonplace among Montana small businesses, but it did not apply to everyone. There existed a wide range of pain from “I have no idea what to do” to “someone accessed confidential data when setup improperly with remote access.” On the other hand, other small businesses spent minimal effort putting together a “pack up and head home plan” and worked from home like any other day.

What was so different about those organizations in reactive pain mode vs. the small businesses that seemed to transition with ease?
You may ask, was there a considerable team of concierge IT folks that provided a white glove transition for each employee?

Nope!
Did they have an expensive enterprise to provide remote access from anywhere?
Probably not.
Did they have some unique Superpower?
YES!
Hold up! Superpower…? That is right! The organizations transitioning with ease did so by use of their IT Superpower!

Wait, this is not bad news for you! This is not some unique power that only the Hulk or Superman has. This is a Superpower that
literally ANYONE can acquire. The Superpower that these organizations have is the power of standards. That is right, plain, boring old Standards.

As Tony Robbins says about Standards, “turn your shoulds into musts.” If you want a specific outcome, such as making it easy for users to do their job from anywhere, you MUST have systems to facilitate this. Let me explain how the power of Standards works by breaking it down into three parts.

First, you must determine the outcomes you want to achieve within the business that consistently keeps you, your employees, and the business is working and growing. Then determine how IT can help facilitate that continuity or growth. From there, you can define the principles that produce the outcomes you are after. A success principle is a statement that says, “if I do this thing, this outcome will happen.” An example could be if I have my files hosted in a cloud solution, my sales team can access their client presentations from anywhere. Another might be that if I have a strategy behind my file management, my employees will not waste time trying to find what they need.

Once you know your success principles, you need a consistent implementation. For ease of an example, let’s use the above example of cloud-hosted files for sales presentations. If you know the success principles but everyone has a different understanding of what they are, you will not achieve consistent outcomes. Instead, each principle must be defined through a system. A success system, in this case, could determine what cloud solution to use, how files are organized, and even how files are named. This would allow for consistent results each time a salesperson needs to make a client presentation.

As we all know, that which is not maintained will degrade over time. Having detailed principles and systems is most of the battle, but knowing they are implemented and followed consistently is the final tier to this Superpower! Once you have successfully implemented your keys to success, scheduling an audit on a recurring basis is critical. This will determine which principles are in place, which ones are being followed, and which ones I should add to achieve new outcomes.

Standards do not have to be complex. They do not even have to be perfectly the same for every organization, but they MUST help achieve the outcomes you want within your business. Without standards, the business turns into inconsistent results and reactive pain that reduces profit and stifles growth.

If your organization is at a place where you do not have the resources or time to manage this Superpower, that is where IT Managed Services can help. We have successfully implemented this Superpower for organizations all over the state of Montana, and we have the rhythm to keep it maintained and constantly evolving. We are proud to say the success of our client transitions during this COVID was eased by the Standards they implemented.

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