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Where Are the Directions?

Monopoly board with game piece

Finding the balance between choose-your-own-adventure and this-is-how-we-do-it takes intentionality and consistency.

If you’ve ever been surprised by “house rules” when playing a board game, you can appreciate how a lack of understanding can be detrimental. Perhaps if you had known the non-traditional rules before starting, you would have adjusted your strategy.

On the other hand, being lectured about all of the rules of the road would likely lead to very few drivers at all. They would be overwhelmed by the number of variables, requirements, allowances, and restrictions.

So where should we land when it comes to the culture of our teams? Too few expressed rules may lead to surprise boundaries while too many rules may stifle creativity and individualism.

When should rules and expectations be explained? Should we adjust our entire process when a customer, client, or team member asks for clarification? What about the potentially thousands of people who never asked?

Where do we allow people to “figure it out” compared to “this is what we do”?

What about the time it takes for one to catch up when learning the unspoken rules? Do we give grace when they miss the storyline or discussion?

Our company culture is defined with or without our input. We can choose to give too many details (or rules, or constraints, or limitations, or expectations, or boundaries) or we can forego explaining the norms and house rules.

Perhaps, rather than creating an inclusive list of rules, we live by our published values. When someone asks, “Where are the directions,” we can point to our core beliefs.

All the best,


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