For years my dear wife is telling me some businesses (companies, government agencies, etc) are just covering their butts. They are not interested in the well being of their staff, customers or populace. In fact they have been taught not to make mistakes. The same time I have been arguing the opposite being true for the majority. There are plenty of examples where innovation, technical or medical break throughs etc take place; there are managers and business owners who have the best interest of their people at heart.
Having worked now in the private and public sector I have changed my mind. It is sad but true, many people work to uphold the rules and regulations. You can call it standards, operating procedures, or even culture “that’s how we do tings around here”. The focus is on compliance, policing and governance.
We are missing what we have set out to do, for example:
- service to the community or our customer base
- providing solutions and results for the customer
- develop and build tools / systems that last and do the job well
- make and distribute healthy food
The common cause is often cited as the growth syndrom:
- making money
- gaining power
- becoming famous
BUT, is that really the case?
How many dads or mums simply want to provide for their children to have it better (education, house, job, ..)?
How many of us simply would like to go on with their business without thinking about mortgage, tax, bills, regulations, … ?
Albert Camus once said, freedom is the freedom of others.
It took me long time to understand. My freedom to do what I want is impacting on the freedom of my neighbour. And here our governance approach started. Instead of common sense prevailing we rely on some authority who tells us what we can or can’t do. And while they are at it, they make it a rule and apply it across the country so a single instance is solved for eternity.
What a load of rubbish!
In Germany it takes months for some decisions to be made because so many committees and sub committees have a say and need to review all the rules, regulations and bylaws. In New Zealand we are getting closer by the minute to the same situation. The recent “super city” is a great example. And I don’t mention the stalemate in the US where some egocentrics in both big parties blame each other rather than sit together at a table and don’t get up until the issue is solved. The election method of the pope is a better example how to do it right.
None of this means the people working in such organisations are bad, stupid or ignorant. No, most are intelligent, focused and trying their best. But they have been taught – like all of us – in an institution called school that rules and regulations and compliance is what drives this world and keeps the order. Challenging the status quo is hard and in school we have been taught not to do so.
Asking questions in school is a sign of ?
(a) intelligence (because you actually thought about it and didn’t come to the same conclusion)
(b) lack of intelligence (because you should know this [by now] and probably haven’t paid attention)
Ask your children. Then wonder why I wrote this post and comment below or use the answer and go back to the start.
Ask the “why” question and find out the reason behind a process, rule or regulation.
Don’t get me wrong, some are necessary, some are good, and some (most ?) are covering exceptions. Those are the ones slowing us down. Shouldn’t we go back to “Use good judgement?”