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The Problem With Rules

One of the classic management mistakes is to implement changes/new rules in reaction to an event or situation.

What do I mean by that?

Example 1:  Someone in the company gets caught surfing questionable content on the internet at work.  The company reacts by removing internet privileges for the whole company.

Example 2:  Someone in the company is caught abusing expenses so the company implements a whole raft of new expenses policies that everyone needs to abide by.

Example 3:  Someone gets drunk at a company event and causes some upset, so the company stops allowing drinks at company events.

It is very often a “knee jerk” reaction to a bad situation.  What management needs to understand before implementing a bunch of change is (a) whether the issue is systemic, or just the individual involved; (b) is it a result of poor education/bad judgement from one person or is there a wider issue; (c) Can management address the issue through education and communication or are a new set of rules needed.

The problem with rules is that they change your culture… and the more rules you have the more you have to police them, and the more it polarizes us and them.  If at all possible it is far better to be able to treat people as adults and set the right expectations rather than treat them like kids who need to be told what to do.

Yes, rules are needed and sometimes its the only way … BUT rules carry a cost and it is important to weigh up the impact of new rules before leaping to introduce them.

PS.  This applies to GOVERNMENTS too!!!