Rules are necessary, and I myself wrote The 250 Laws of Love for a partnership relationship.
Rules that help understanding, however, must be more like guidelines and less like a straitjacket. A straitjacketed person, in particular at work, won’t be that active. More probably, they’ll become more passive and get bitter.
My Rule about the Jug
In the last few weeks I have been talking to several company owners. They justified it by saying: “We need to motivate our people, support their life satisfaction and therefore their performance.” OK. But it’s like a jug.
If we want to fill a jug with water, we first have to find out whether it has a bottom at all, or whether there is a hole in it through which water will leak out. In the same way, important people needlessly slip away from companies through the cracks. What cracks?
Many corporations create uniform rules. Those rules give management the feeling that “everything is under control”. In reality, these binding rules stifle human creativity and uniqueness and deprive companies of the chance to differentiate themselves on the market—through an individual mind that will do something different.
A simple, indirect proportion applies:
The more rules bind, the less there is of personal desire—i.e. motivation.
The more rules bind, the less there is of personal activity—i.e. performance.
The more rules bind, the less there is of personal originality—and therefore profit.
Where the rules bind too much, the most talented people and hard workers die out. They are the first ones to leave; given the current extremely high demand for quality manpower they have more opportunities than others.
All that is then left in corporations are people willing to make compromises—including on their payslip. But the following applies: If I have AVERAGE people putting in AVERAGE performance, the result can only be an AVERAGE company.
What Is Stupid
It’s always hard to attract and retain above-average personnel. And attracting and retaining top people is even harder. Individuals seeking alternative career choices is a factor, of course, but just as decisive is the state of relations in the workplace.
Yes, some skilled people might leave for opportunities that they can’t miss. But business owners and managers should be aware, the reasons for departures can mostly be found in the company itself and can be called creation of stupid rules.
How do you recognise a rule that’s stupid? A definition in five words: It punishes people you need.
A couple of examples from across corporations:
First Rule: HIRING
Imagine it: You’re potentially a great new hire for a company that needs exactly the skills you have. So you’re applying for a job there:
You pretty up your CV… you draft a convincing motivational letter… and then—you jump into a black hole.
The black hole is the person that makes a decision about you or the way the decision about you is made.
It’s not a person, more of a robotic controller of egg quality. And even they would at least view an egg and assess its size in real life.
Some HR robots don’t even invite you in. They don’t get to know you. They assess the correctness of a candidate based on the right keywords, which they either read or don’t read in an email/printed presentation.
I ask: Why don’t you allow a hiring process with a little humanity? Why not look for the right person based on REAL contact, words ACTUALLY spoken, the PERSONAL impression somebody gives, an intuitive DIRECT feeling?
Don’t be surprised that you don’t have stand-out individuals in your company. When you make recruitment more human, you get people, not machines and eggs.
Please, continue to the 2nd page