Leaders Avoid Stupid Rules

A fellow consultant and I once worked with a small services firm that had some retention and engagement problems.

At first, everything seemed in place – the people were good; the quality of their work was sound; the CEO and leadership team cared about their folks. But, looking closer, there were some misguided notions in play that made us scratch our heads.

They had a couple of odd policies:

  1. In order to save energy, all overhead lights were off, and only cubicle task lamps were used when needed.
  2. In order to preserve professionalism, all employees were to wear suits every day, even though no clients ever came to the place of business.

So, their people came to work each day dressed to the nines, and walked around in the dark, with small directional task lamps dotting the cubicle landscape. And, most of their days were spent working alone.

These well-intentioned policies (note that they have a rationale) worked against the relationship the organization had with each employee, and actually contributed to the lack of engagement. This organization even prided itself on the many outings and social opportunities it created for its staff. Because of that, a few poorly-thought-out rules worked against their stated values.

And that’s the problem;

When the policies fail to match the mission or norms of the organization, it results in confusion, at best, and a lack of integrity, at worst.

Make sure you eliminate stupid rules, and ensure that work and policies reflect your values.

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