On Multiplying Rules

Well said by Marcus Buckingham in First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently:

“Some managers are hamstrung by their fundamental mistrust of people. A mistrustful manager’s only recourse is to impose rules. For a mistrustful person, the managerial role is very stressful.

The rules rarely succeed in anything but creating a culture of compliance that slowly strangles the organization of flexibility, responsiveness, and perhaps more important, good will.”

That is a key point: multiplying rules strangles good will. And if you strangle good will, you eliminate the motivation for people to do very much beyond mere compliance. In other words, you will have ripped the heart out of the organization.

  • Connie Z.

    Did you hear the new (excellent) episode of This American Life this week? http://www.thisamericanlife.org/

    It’s about Nummi, GM’s car plant in CA and the lessons they learned from Toyota’s car plant culture. I loved how Toyota trusts the people they manage and even implements their ideas. Of course this gains loyalty, when workers know their input matters!

    It’s also striking how clearly the episode blames American Pride for GM’s troubles.

  • Matt

    I haven’t heard that, but that sounds excellent.