When to Make Rules and When to Let Go

In our home of ten there must be some semblance of order.  If not, we would all be bumping into each other, trying to get things done (or trying not to get things done, if one is a teenager) and at the same time keep peace in the home.  With two adults and kids aged from 0 – 16, we all have different goals and interests.  But what keeps us sane is what we have in common – what unites us.

These things are, for the most part, our areas of consistency.  We know what we want and we work toward those goals as a family.  Goals may be achieved or change, but our desire to accomplish those goals do not.

There are MANY ways the goals can be achieved.  Instead a lot of strict rules that govern behavior, why not have guidelines that focus on goals.

Too often organizations come up with minute, tiny goals and wrap policy or procedures around them to be sure that something is accomplished.  They then force everyone to follow them.  But these rules too often are not at the core of what the company is really trying to do. They are tertiary and often not needed (although in the moment they seem very needed).  They distract from actually getting the work done in the best way possible.

We often hear of companies which try to do everything – their product line is thin.  They have a lot of breadth, but little depth and they wind up not doing much well and their company suffers.  I believe rules within companies are the same.  If we make too many of them (relative to the goals of the company) then we are distracting ourselves from what needs to get done.  In the end, we wind up wasting time, effort and resources on creation, enforcement and loss of productivity and overall company power.

Think of this: Every  $1,000 I spend on creating or enforcing a company policy is $1,000 I could have spent on R&D, marketing, product/service development or support.  So, is the rule REALLY important?