Very often, in highly compliant environments with a juggle of ‘small rules,’ there is a serious risk of getting the ‘big stuff’, the important stuff, very wrong.
Even companies with great processes are vulnerable if they don’t understand how the small rules can get in the way of what matters most. An easy and obvious example is the area of ‘customer service’. There is usually a maze of rules around trying to ensure ‘good customer service’. Yet, all too often these same rules are exactly what prevent or get in the way of ‘good customer service’!
A problem about an environment overburdened with small rules is that they produce a mind-set that can result in make seeing the bigger picture difficult if not impossible. The small rules distract us from the original intent and instead of supporting the end goal, frustrate the end goal.
Get rid of the rules that are getting in the way of the important stuff…important stuff like building relationship with your customers, clients and staff. If you have a small rule in place, know why it is there and make sure that it has a ‘sponsor’ – someone who can explain the logic and need for the rule. In the absence of a ‘sponsor’, get rid of the rule. Applying the ‘sponsor principle’ to your small rules might reveal just how many small rules you have that should not be there in the first place! They exist but nobody can remember why they exist or what purpose they serve.
Left unattended the small rules tend to proliferate and choke meaningful innovation, experimentation and initiative. They get in the way of the things we know we need to thrive into the future, the things we need in order to be futurefit – things like agility, adaptability and curiosity.
Get rid of the ‘small rules’! get rid of those rules that don’t support the end objective and purpose that guides your activity.
I often felt, while teaching in England that they gad a good measure on this’sign’, in other words, focus on WHAT REALLY MATTERS. Safrican schools can certainly take a leaf from this book.