Get Rid Of Stupid Workplace Rules In 30 Minutes

by Lisa Bodell for [email protected]

Every office has at least one. Some offices have dozens or hundreds even. I’m not talking about bathrooms — I’m referring to stupid rules. Things like mandatory meetings and reports, or protocols for expense reporting and hiring. Rules should simplify the things we do every day, not make them more complicated. But if companies care more about protocol than productivity, red tape can take root and choke the joy right out of a healthy culture.

During simplification sessions with organizations all over the world, I share a technique that starts clearing away red tape in half an hour. It begins with this question: If you could kill all the rules that frustrate you or slow down your efficiency, what would they be? With your team or individually, take 30 minutes or so to list those stupid rules. Keep these pro tips in mind:

  • Focus on your sphere of control — choose rules that are directly related to your business unit and your daily work, not the larger organization.
  • Think in terms of red rules and green rules. Red rules are government-mandated and industry-regulated, so leave those rules as they are. Everything else is a green rule and fair game.

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