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Ya Gotta Break a Few Rules


I’m not a big fan of rules, I’m even less of a fan of rules that don’t make sense. I actually despise rules when the maker of the rule explains it with the statement “because I said so.”

When I hear “because I said so” I almost automatically translate that into “because I finally have a little power and I want everyone to know it.” People that make rules because they can are the same people that have leadership positions or titles but aren’t much of a leader.

Authentic leaders respect rules and carefully consider the alternatives before deciding to break one. However, an authentic leader is not afraid to break a rule that needs breaking. An authentic leader knows that sometimes if you’re going to succeed you’re going to have to break some rules.

An authentic leader also knows exactly why a rule is required before they make one. The best organizations, the most innovative organizations and the organizations that succeed through challenging times are the ones with the least rules.

The more rules a leader puts in place the more limits their people will feel, whether the limits were intended or not. If you want your organization to grow then limit the number of rules, get rid of as many boundaries as possible, bring down the walls and remove the doors. (I’ve literally seen companies remove the doors from offices and meeting rooms.)

When one of your people breaks a rule don’t make “punishment” a knee jerk reaction. Calmly analyze how, why and when the rule was broken. Most importantly, look at the result. The result may just be an improvement over the result provided by blindly following the rule.

If breaking the rule caused a negative result you know what to do. If breaking the rule provided a positive result then you have yourself a new and better way of doing things and a rule breaker that you can’t afford to lose.

Have you ever broken a rule that needed to be broken? Tell us about your results.

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