To successfully implement processes at the three levels, management must set and maintain its standards. This is a stabilizing factor in any organization. There are certain performance levels that must be held constant. In widely fluctuating situations it becomes difficult to know what performance factors are satisfactory and what are unsatisfactory. Management must improve its standards. Standards are not fixed points or objectives, but rather the start points for doing a better job the next time. Once performance is fixed in place with the maintenance of standards, improvement begins.
Two types of standards exist: stabilized and evolving. Stabilized standards are the standards that tell individuals how their performance is measured. Goals and objectives usually contain standards. This helps provide stability to the work situation. As the stabilized standards are met and improvements in the workflow occur, the standards are shifted upward. These standards are said to be evolving as the system becomes fine-tuned. There can be no improvement (the ultimate goal of process mapping) if there are no standards, they are not disciplined, or they are not allowed to evolve. Standards carry certain characteristics that help the organization form, shape, and project consistency in its story. These may be found in company documents such as the Standard Operation Procedures or policy manuals. Too few standards are a lack of discipline while too many standards could become overwhelming. Seek a working balance. The standards should have the following characteristics:
- They become the individual authorization and responsibility to carry out work.
- They are transmittal vehicles of individual experience to the next generation of employees.
- They communicate individual experience and know-how to the organization.
- They demonstrate an accumulation of experience within the organization through their evolving nature.
- They deploy know-how from one department to another.
- They serve as a mark of discipline for the organization.