Recently I have been surprised by by some of the responses I get when talking to friends and prospects about why something cannot be done in their company or organisation. With me it is often about whether someone can create content on their website - simply showing what they know to their community of business clients, partners, prospects and colleagues.
Fortunately I do not encounter this the majority of the time but when I do it really worries me - "We cannot do that - compliance will go mad! We cannot do that it is someone else's job - or worse "we cannot do that unless he/she thought of it first". "I just need to check if I am allowed (usually via a committee or two)".
I love this article below that tells of a manual created in 1944 by the predecessor to the CIA advising agents who were behind enemy lines on how to sabotage the occupying forces of WW2 Europe. “Insist on doing everything through ‘channels’", one section advises. “Never permit shortcuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.” When possible, “refer all matters to committees for further study and consideration. Attempt to make the committee as large as possible – never less than five.”
I understand there has to be rules and checks. We should all follow good practice and useful processes. However these should enable not disable us from doing our jobs. When it comes to content creation if an employee is trusted to go into meetings and get on the phone surely they should be trusted to go online. Lets face it if they are not enabled to do this at work many will do it personally with no process or checks.
Too many rules and processes get in the way of creativity and get in the way of people really excelling. It also annoys us.
So for what it is worth my suggestion is break a few rules and procedures, don't make decisions by committee, have a go, surprise yourself and your colleagues, be happy to fail and learn.
Yet the really telling thing about the Simple Sabotage manual, as Galford et al point out, is how many of its prescriptions for sowing chaos resemble not disobedience but extreme obedience – following procedures to the letter, obsessing about perfect accuracy, chewing over every detail. We’ve all fumed about customer service reps who refuse to be flexible. But usually the real problem is that they’re working in organisational structures that permit zero autonomy. Too often, managers assume the key to improvement must be clearer procedures and standards, more exactingly enforced. But when your management philosophy encourages the kind of behaviour that US intelligence services once sincerely believed might cause the collapse of nations, perhaps it’s time to reconsider. One way rules go wrong is when people don’t follow them. But another is what happens when they do.