Rule Out Rule Mania

A man watering a tree with multicolor windows for leavesA well-meaning colleague suggested the other day that our team managers issue a list of office etiquette tips (read policies) to the team. We work in a large open area and some team members have been engaged in distracting behaviors. Rightly so, my co-worker thought a reminder of how to act in the company of others might get people back on track.

The problem is that our team has recently gone through a mind-numbing overwhelming amount of compliance, functional and institutional training with the accompanying mandate to follow all associated policies and procedures. Their emotional and intellectual hard drives can absorb and embrace just so much, so our leadership group decided to take a rain check on the etiquette email and address any infractions on a case-by-case basis.

Working in a corporate environment usually brings with it a crushing amount of bureaucratic information that in-house teams must understand and put in practice, and this is before they even get to getting their heads around creative SOPs. If, like with my team, you’re constantly exploring and implementing initiatives designed to improve how you do business, it’s critical that you push information out to them in a way they can embrace and adopt.

Timing, of course, is critical – you don’t want your team drinking from a fire hose. Presenting the communications in a way they can comprehend (no spreadsheets please) is another practice to keep in mind. Chunking out the information and reinforcing it on a regular basis as well as tying in compliance to professional goals and performance reviews rounds out a collection of tactics that will ensure sustainable long-term adoption of critical policies and procedures.