Steps to Management Success – Step 62: Don’t Have Rules Just to Have Rules

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 1st, 2010

STEP SIXTY-TWO

Don’t Have Rules Just to Have Rules

Every business has its rules, policies, and procedures—the way things are done.

It could be the procedure for filing an expense report, the way a new customer is registered on your computer system, or how many paid sick days an employee may receive each year. Most of the time (let’s assume), these policies make sense. Sometimes, though, they get in the way. And that’s like having the tail wag the dog.

WHAT IT MEANS: Policies stop making sense when they interfere with the key objectives of your business—are you losing sales, customers, or valued employees because of them? There might be new technologies, practices, or processes that could result in greater efficiency or more strategically valuable information for managers. Or perhaps the rule or procedure simply fails to achieve its original objective and is being followed for no good reason at all. There are hundreds of opportunities to fine-tune and improve any company’s performance—but weeding out your dumb or dysfunctional rules is a great place to start!

ACTION PLAN: Periodically review all policies, processes, and rules. Do they still make sense? Are there any modifications that might make more sense? Those employees who are closest to the operational processes may very well have better insight into possible rules remedies, so make sure to invite their feedback.

EVEN BETTER: Empower everyone in the company to be in the position of making constructive suggestions. You can implement a formal “Suggestion Box” program with rewards and recognition, or you could form a special Operations Committee to make policy reviews a more formal and regularly conducted activity. The more flexible your business can be with regard to continually improving its practices and operating procedures, the more agile and successful your company will be.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)


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