Have you ever noticed how children are constantly pushing boundaries and checking how far they can push things? It is a natural thing to do as they endeavour to discover what works and why. As we get older, we may disguise it a bit better, but the truth is, people will still test the boundaries. Maybe we see if we can take a shortcut in how we do things or we challenge what someone says. It may take various forms, but the truth is, it is human nature to want to push the boundaries at some level.
The same applies in business. There are procedures, processes and standards we apply to ensure that the business stays on course and continues to improve. However, human nature being what it is, people will start to take short cuts or ease off on the rules or requirements. People will also challenge the rules to see if they apply in various circumstances or if they still apply under different leadership etc. The important point for leaders to understand is that it is human nature for people to act like this and not to get annoyed and upset by this behaviour. It is also the leaders role to remind people what the rules are and what they stand for. This is not in a confrontational manner, but rather to remind people what is expected and how they need to behave. People will generally respond to this well if done in an inclusive manner and not in a dictatorial manner. People want to know how they are doing and where they stand. However, there is another aspect of this that we need to remember in our role as leaders. Having our rules and procedures challenged is a good thing. When they are challenged, it makes us think about them and gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves if these rules or procedures still apply? Many rules, processes and procedures were very valid when they were first designed but circumstances have overtaken them and now they are not the most effective way of doing things. So as leaders we need to welcome the challenges that give us the opportunity to re-consider the value of what we are doing and either expose it as no longer the best way, or strengthen it. The questions this month are aimed at two levels. The first group are:
The second group of questions are:
There is a time to defend and then a time to be open to challenges. I hope this has helped you consider how you are doing, especially at a time when business is under pressure and the market is so competitive.