Doing Away With Stupid Rules


The Wall Street Journal at 1701 Page Mill Road...

The Wall Street Journal at 1701 Page Mill Road in Palo Alto, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Right now, somewhere in your company, one of your employees is rolling his eyes. Make no mistake, it’s because of a policy or rule that leadership created.

The eye-roll—and its cousin, the defeated shrug—are the silent protests of people in every area of your company.

If you want to know the true source and depth of their frustration, there’s only one surefire way: Invite them to a brainstorming meeting.

Once you have gathered your teams together, provide blank sticky notes and ask everyone to pair up. Then present this question: If you could kill or change all the stupid rules that get in the way of doing your work or better servicing our clients, what would they be?

If they stare back at you in stunned silence, you might want to add: “You have 10 minutes! Go!” After 10 minutes, people will likely ask for more time—not because they’re stumped, but because there are that many stupid rules. Don’t interrupt their catharsis. After all, how often do you see your employees so engaged? Do remind them, however, that government regulations are “red rules”—illegal to change—but everything else is a “green rule” and thus, fair game.

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