“Policies are organizational scar tissue. They are codified overreactions to situations that are unlikely to happen again. They are collective punishment for the misdeeds of an individual. This is how bureaucracies are born. No one sets out to create a bureaucracy. They sneak up on companies slowly. They are created one policy – one scar – at a time.” Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
How many stupid rules do you have in your organization that are costing your company money and hurting employee morale and productivity? As the quote from Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson suggests above, rules or policies can be organizational scar tissue! They were probably created with good intentions as the organization attempted to deal with some issue it was facing but then they morphed and changed into catch-all policies that are outdated, restrictive and unproductive.
Removing this organizational scar tissue by getting rid of these stupid rules will result in a productivity boost for your company because;
- You are removing roadblocks which have been a drag on productivity.
- Your employees will see that leadership is engaged and caring and this is a huge morale booster for your employees.
- You open the door for employees to “have a voice” and make productive suggestions about the organization.
So, how do you do it?
It’s a simple five step process.
This is another tool that I picked up from Lisa Bodell and her book Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution (see the previous post, Why You Need To Kill Your Company, for more details).
- Explain the Kill A Stupid Rule concept to your employees by having them answer the following question; “If you could kill or change all the stupid rules that get in the way of doing your work or better serving our customers, what would they be, and how would you do it?” This can be done in an employee meeting or virtually by using email. Note that business leaders can be blind to many of these Stupid Rules because we are so used to them or perhaps we are not exposed to the impact that they may be having on the business. The best way to uncover the Stupid Rules is to ask the people in the organization that have to live with them each and every day.
- Collect all the ideas that are submitted and sort them by themes
- Meet with your business leadership team and;
- Run through each idea submitted
- Place each idea into a rating grid;
- Vertically – ease of implementation (Difficult at the bottom and Easy at the top)
- Horizontally – positive impact to the organization if the rule is killed (Low at the left and High at the right)
- The top right quadrant would be the easiest rules to kill with the highest impact.
- Out of the stupid rules that end up in the top right quadrant, pick the rules that the leadership team wants to kill
- Prioritize the selected rules with “kill” dates and who will own the process to kill the rule
- The graph will look something like this:
Get started and Kill Some Stupid Rules this week and watch the impact it has on your business!
Download the Kill a Stupid Rule Excel graphing template from the Business Tools page.