“You can’t” Policies vs. “You should” Policies

By : Rudy Vidal | | Category : Corporate Culture Organization

One of the aspects of corporate culture that is hardest to shift are outdated policies. There are so many, especially in mature businesses. Easily, over 75% of all policies I have studied across companies and departments are designed to keep bad things from happening – they are the “You can’t do this, and you can’t do that – policies”.

I have no issue with them. If it’s bad, keeping it from happening may be an important thing. But, why not put as much emphasis on policies that will cause “good things” to happen? Why can’t we have policies that proactively guide us to do things that create conditions for a preferred future state? More sales, higher customer satisfaction, empowerment.

I think it’s just because coming up with the policies to create desired outcomes is not as easy as identifying those things we would like to outlaw. We are usually more sensitive to the stuff we don’t like.

“You should Policies”:

  • * Upper management should talk to at least one dissatisfied customer per month. That’s a policy I like.
  • * Customer Service agents are now empowered to do whatever they think is right for the customer. Scary, huh?
  • * One customer service team cannot transfer the customer to another team until they have solved the problem. But escalation is my only way out!

Admittedly, some proactive policies require careful assessment and good process to facilitate our preferred future. It’s not easy, but I have found that I am more successful when I concentrate on creating the desired output, instead of focusing on those things that keep me from it.

Which culture would you like to build?