Rules, policies and organizational culture define organizations. They determine the environment within and the subsequent product or service delivery from them. Rules policies are often the result of efforts to govern people’s actions and systems.
They are necessary. Organizational culture is developed over time. Not everything that ends up a part of an organization’s culture is intentional. At the same time, there are unwritten rules.
Rules and policies are used as means to get people in the organization to act a certain way. When you introduce a new rule or policy in your organization or team there is an important question you should ask: Are we introducing new rules and policy because we’ve failed to shape the culture?
You know when parents have failed to instil values and try to get their children to behave how they want by use of rules? It works, only for a while.
Because of rules, people on your team may act how you want them to but with negative attitudes. Rules and policies are generally regarded as the ‘fun police’ hence the tendency to treat them with contempt.
When an organization starts relying heavily on rules and policy to control people’s actions, it has failed to set a positive organizational culture.
Constantly churning rules and policies results in drones and not a particularly motivated or passionate team. Instead of governing people why not inspire them by encouraging a positive culture. A positive organizational culture is core to purpose and innovation.
Culture embodies philosophy and principles while rules control the known. The former will help navigate the unknown while the latter is high maintenance and has to be constantly changed with circumstance.
Rules and policies are necessary. But, make sure that you are not using them to accomplish what a positive organizational culture should be doing.