Mature backing off his suit jacket with a cigar hanging from the corner of his mouth. As the boss do you break your own rules?

Breaking Rules

This week, Goldman Sachs has been fined $4m for breaking its own rules.  Imagine creating your policies and procedures only to ignore them.  Instead, they drew a blank to what they said they would offer their customers and continued to do business on the oversight. 

Although the average business owner with a smaller business may find it hard to swallow a penalty of millions when put into context, a company turning over trillions can probably shrug it off as an inconvenient lesson learnt.  Instead of a slap on the wrist, it seems like a one-finger tap on the back of the hand. 

Policies and procedures provide structure and assist an organisation in sending a clear message to the internal community and externals, regardless of size.

It's Easier Breaking Rules with No Purpose

The advice is to know what you want and have a process. The process will see you suffering from tunnel vision and focusing on the numbers alone. The purpose of why you are doing what you are doing gets overshadowed by the revenue.

Once you start testing the market, a significant risk is that you get used to reaping the rewards. So much so that you never have the drive to revisit and flesh out those HouseRules. Therefore your core values are not stated but left to others to conclude. There also needs to be a guide to provide your team’s assistance to stay on track. Having others infer their version of your purpose can only lead to confusion.

Make Meaningful Rules

How do you expect to impose and enforce your rules on others if they mean nothing to you? It would be lame to resort to the tired excuses of I’m the boss, and I said so!” “Do as I say and not as I do” doesn’t build that meaningful relationship of “know, like, trust” that others are constantly bleating on about.

To show others that you are sincere is to stay true to yourself.
The art of manipulation is rift. At times it’s not readily apparent whether the manipulator knows what they are doing because they follow the advice of others. Pleasing your clientele will generate revenue; however, some individuals seek more than surface gratification in today’s world. How else would a global, high-profile investment firm like Goldman Sachs end up with a penalty?

Prevent Breaking Rules with Flexibility

Refrain from blindsiding yourself in business with rules that you know will never be followed or, worst, having policies that you know you can’t or won’t be monitored or enforced.

I say it all the time; your rules are not biblical covenants. You put in place what you have considered will guide you for the foreseeable future. It’s not a fairytale, and there is no happily ever after. Your rules will evolve as your business becomes more established. They will also be affected by your evolution, exposure and comfort levels.

You have control over what happens in your business but will still be affected by external circumstances. Some will be idyllic and others challenging. The rules of your house will guide you in those situations, and when it comes time to lean in or pivot, you can do so confidently.

It can sometimes be a lot, but when you take your time and follow the right convictions, you should be alright. When you need clarification on whether your policies and procedures align with your business today, book a Humming session to discuss your concerns. And remember, there is always the option to have a policy review.

Let me not keep you any longer because time is precious.  Especially if you’re trying to determine my value and whether to work with me.   Look out for the next Ethical Insight, but if you cannot wait any longer, go ahead and book a Sip & Chat.

CAS Ltd, The Ethical Strategist, Cas Johnson - find the balance for your business with policies and culture.

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