Align Your Heart With Your Vision
Money Talk

Align Your Heart With Your Vision

Gabriel Matt

Many times in our work lives it seems like we are so busy already that you do not have time to put one more thing on your plate. But one thing to remember is that lack of teamwork and morale is an indication of your culture. And it will not likely improve unless a plan and action is put into place.

  • Did you know that the reason why some people can accept change 
  • Have you been getting the response 
  • Are you willing to accept change

Our creativity was the engine that powered the profits.

But this doesn't apply just to comedy TV shows. It applies to your business as well. (Of course, there may be times when you think your business is a comedy TV show-but that's an entirely different issue.)

In 2010, a survey of more than 1,500 CEOs from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide concluded that creativity is now the most important leadership quality for success in business. That being the case, why is it that so many leaders refuse to invest time, money, and/or energy into improving their own creativity and that of their teams? (Not you, of course. It's the others.) Why won't they invest in the "most important leadership quality for success in business"?

I think it's because when they think of "creativity," they form a picture in their minds of hippies in headbands going off into the woods and juggling beanbags while singing about "possibility."

With this picture (or one like it) firmly in mind, they then say, "We're not going to have any of that foolishness around here!" and go off and hire yet another sales trainer.

See, our job, week after week, was to be creative-on demand. BUT, that creativity had to lead to profit. If what we created-jokes, comedy sketches, parodies-didn't draw an audience that advertisers would pay to reach, our creativity would have gone nowhere (and our careers would have quickly followed). But we did draw that audience, and the station made a healthy profit. And it all began with our creativity.

Do I have your attention?

Sometimes, breaking the rules is incredibly effective. In the business world, the same dynamic applies. You can topple industry giants if you act unconventionally. Sometimes, breaking the right rules can hand you an industry on a platter.

Rules and norms accumulate over time

As we explore the art of strategic rule-breaking, this idea is important: no system naturally tends towards simplicity. Left to evolve, everything becomes more complex, as each contributor builds new layers of rules and norms on top of old ones. Increasing complexity is actually the path of least resistance. Simplicity, far from being a natural state, requires intelligent design.

It's a big part of the reason that so little disruptive innovation comes from within an industry. Taxi drivers didn't invent Uber, and bankers didn't invent PayPal, because the people within these industries think through the lenses of their own complex norms. It takes a rule-breaking maverick to see a thing afresh and venture that there might be a better way.

Fight complexity

Take Steve Jobs's obsession with simple, clean, elegant design. In no small part, it's what saved Apple upon his return to the company. But it meant saying no to a great many things. No to an extensive product range - keep it simple. No to extra buttons - keep it simple. No to excessive complexity - the system must be easy and intuitive to operate.

Clearing away clutter, resisting the creep of added complexity and disbanding out-dated rules requires a simplicity champion. It requires leadership willing to challenge existing systems.

How much do bad rules really cost you?

At the most glib level, mindless adherence to rules is merely annoying, sometimes even the stuff of comedy (Google the Little Britain skit 'Computer says no'). But is that sufficient justification to embark on a campaign to overhaul your systems?

Every product, every service that ever made a dollar (or a million, or a billion, dollars) began with a creative idea.

It turns out we can do a lot better than that. There are plenty of compelling reasons for reducing and relaxing the rules in your organisation. Here are 6 of them.

As part of your own efforts to change the rules-based culture at your company, this list may be useful as you begin to persuade others to your point of view. Why not present it at your next staff meeting? Ask attendees if they've seen real-world examples of each idea. Let their passionate discussion begin to drive the change:

The speed of making things

The cost of rules

1. Speed

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  • This is a list item that's being used on a template, please work as supposed to
  • This is a list item that's being used on a template, please work as supposed to
  • This is a list item that's being used on a template, please work as supposed to
  • This is a list item that's being used on a template, please work as supposed to

Rules entail processes that have to be followed. Each process may take a small amount of time in isolation. But pile rule upon rule and even a simple procedure can become an unreasonably slow process. The slower things happen, the greater the total lethargy.

Sometimes useful things are not allowed to happen at all, because a rule flat out prevents them from being done. Other times, a useful idea can't get to market quickly enough. It took Google two years to get all the vetting they needed from Legal and Marketing to release Google+. By then, Facebook had such a critical mass that Google's excellent compliance didn't matter.

Making speedy decisions

2. Willingness

When simple acts are slow to do because of the burden of procedures, the willingness to do them drops. People perceive that going above and beyond is too much trouble. They are trained and conditioned to actively reduce their contribution.

With decreased speed and increased procedures, the word 'no' is heard so often it becomes a form of cultural conditioning. 'No' trains away initiative and propensity for risk-taking. 'No' starts to become normative. It becomes your organisation's default setting.

Gabriel Matt

Gabriel is head of out HR team. Trust her.

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