Monday 30 March 2015

How much is following the rules costing you?

I chair a think tank for my local Chamber of Commerce (Geelong) on reducing business barriers, including red tape. While in the Chamber offices last week I read the local Business News March 2015 edition 238 when the headline of a feature article The $249 billion costs of following the rules jumped out at me. The article is about Deloitte's findings in their "Get Out of Your Own Way: Unleashing Productivity" report.

You can read the report here.

There's also an excellent infograhic here.

Here's some examples of the rules from the report:

"Our research uncovered a wealth of examples:
• The small taxi fares that have to await approval from the weekly executive team meeting
• The firm that rejects application forms from potential customers if they are completed in blue ink
• The business insisting its engineers sign off on new parts at a fixed location, making them walk up to 15 kilometres a day around the workplace (see page 29)
• The rules that say receptionists must record every coffee made for a guest or letter received, but can order as much alcohol as they like
• The firm that insisted staff complete an ergonomic checklist and declaration when they moved desks, then introduced ‘hot desking’ such that everyone spent 20 minutes a day filling out forms."

What rules can you break, eliminate, change in your business that will result in immediate productivity improvements?

Here's an excerpt from my Changing What's Normal book on rules that may help you.

In a session with a mentor, one time, she asked me if I was willing to give up my rule book? I was, however, I found it very hard to do!

There are rules in society that are there primarily to protect us and fellow beings from ourselves and each other. Otherwise there would be so much more chaos than there already is that we would probably cease to exist.

We have our own rules as well however.

My rule book used to say:

Nobody should give bad service so I should tell people off when they do.

If I think something is wrong I’d better fix it before it gets worse.

Before this or that gets off the rails I should say something to ‘help’ (and I used to say it).

I should be appreciated more often.

People don’t deserve to be treated poorly and if I don’t do anything about it nobody will.

People who don’t reply to emails should be sanctioned.

I could go on and on. I once had a lot of rules!

My mentor pointed out to me that my rules are often fantasy or completely irrelevant or unknown for others.

I spent a lot of time and energy thinking about this and I agree with my mentor. I have thrown out my rule book.

I have learnt that what is, is. I am learning that the more I accept this and not try to control things, judge others, or ‘make things better’, which is what my rule book used to be all about, I am much more peaceful, powerful, inspirational, and many times more effective.

Instead of my rules I now focus on rules of engagement when the possibility of collaborating or engaging with others presents itself.

The best rules of engagement are those we have agreed to work with, which means building a relationship with others really matters before we can properly engage.

Have you got your own rule book?

Maybe if you discarded it your life would be better. I can’t comment. What you do is none of my business.

What rules can you break, eliminate, change in your business that will result in immediate productivity improvements?

Be remarkable.

PS Inspirational, influential and impactful leadership is often about getting out of our own way. It is also about getting out of the way of others. See my post Moving on meddling management and letting loose liberating leadership for more on this.

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