15 Mar Your Organization Needs an Annual “Rub Out the Rules” Day
We are continually changing throughout our entire lives.
Here’s a simple example: think about what you liked to eat when you were five – hot dogs and mac and cheese and nothing else! Now, imagine what your 5-year-old self’s reaction would be if they were asked to eat raw fish (sushi)? Pure unadulterated disgust…while you, not so much. But the changes occur so gradually we are often unaware we are changing.
This process of gradual unplanned change applies to businesses as well as people.
Companies implement rules, processes and policies and then incorrectly assume they are immune from the unplanned changes that inevitably occur through exceptions to the rules, processes and policies and changes in the work environment that require/force employees to ignore the rules, processes, and policies in order to do their work in the most effective and efficient manner possible.
A startling example of how inconsequential rules become with the passage of time is when labor organizations and their members protest against an employer by “working to the rule”. They perform their job duties in strict accordance with the rules, policies (i.e. job description) and procedures established by the employer. This means they ignore the realities of the workplace, based on the changes that occurred since the rules, policies, and procedure were put in place and become less effective/efficient in the performance of their duties because of those very rules, policies, and procedures!
To combat the nearly universal and totally incorrect assumption that, once implemented, rules, policies, and procedures never change, companies need to implement a policy like the Sunset Laws put in place by Congress that requires certain regulations be reviewed and re-adopted periodically or otherwise they just disappear.
The Bottom Line:
At an organizational level, this necessary review, updating, replacing or eliminating of unnecessary rules, policies and procedures can be accomplished by an annual “Rub Out the Rule Day”, where employee suggestions about eliminating rules that are unnecessary, irritating or inhibit efficient operations are considered. And this is one policy that should remain in place in perpetuity!
Would your organization be able to implement this policy or would those defenders of the status quo react like hoarders and refuse to let the pruning process occur?