What would you find if you began dissecting your corporate policies? Would you find that most rules and procedures were implemented to help better achieve mission? Or would you find multiple examples of policies that were written because of “that one time someone found a loophole and took advantage” or “this particular issue slipped through the cracks once and it resulted in a $100 mistake?”
Many policies are written with the right intention – we put procedures in place to protect ourselves and our organizations. However, just as often policies are written as a result of one-time incidents that exposed a potential liability in how we interact with the public. So, to protect us from the small minority of individuals who would abuse this opportunity, we construct pathways and build barriers that make these simple interactions more difficult for everyone involved.
There’s a good chance if you look around you can find the policies that are ready to be revised (if not thrown out all together). Some telltale signs would be any policy that was implemented more than 10 years ago and hasn’t been reviewed since, any policy that requires more than 2 employee signatures to accomplish a simple transaction, or any policy that effects everyone you do business with and was implemented as the result of just a few isolated incidents of concern.
Policies are critical aspects of our work as they guide and drive what we do. However, policies often frustrate those on the front line who feel blocked in and prevented from doing their work to the best of their ability. If we’re hiring right, it should be an easy decision to empower our team to act. Policing the exception only creates headaches for everyone involved.
Identify a policy or procedure you put in place because you were burned once in the past. Is the new process worth it?
Let me know in the comments below.