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Go Ahead, Break More Rules!

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Go Ahead, Break More Rules!

Regardless of what any business class may teach you, there’s no surefire path to business success. When you get your MBA, they don’t hand you the keys to a hot new tech startup. They hand you a diploma.

The rest is on you.

That’s why the best thing you can do is to experiment. You’ve learned what’s supposed to work and what isn’t supposed to work. Now, find out the truth for yourself. You may find that doing things exactly the opposite of what you were taught is more effective for you. You might not.

The best way to do it is to challenge everything, including the rules. If you’re going to give rule-breaking a try, here are a few rules about breaking the rules:

1. Ask why constantly

“Why do we buy from them?” “Why is it done that way?” “Why don’t we open the store that day?”The great rule-breaker knows that asking why is the single most important weapon in her arsenal. By asking why, you force people to think and justify the current systems. You see, too often imperfect or outdated systems stay in place for years – far past their expiration date. The reasoning behind the original system could no longer hold true today. As you ask why, listen carefully to the answers. If you here things like, “We’ve always done it this way” or “I don’t really know,” then you know you’re probably onto something.

2. Prepare for the consequences

Rules are rules because they work often enough that people haven’t changed them yet. Be prepared that when you set out to find a new path, your initial solution might be worse. It’s all right to make mistakes. If you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t trying hard enough. Maybe in theory, it sounded nice to have everyone clock in and out whenever they wanted to, but soon you realized the logistical challenge of coordinating that many independent schedules was just not possible in practice. You’ll get ‘em next time.

3. Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know

Want to break the vast majority of management conventions? Really empower your staff. If you don’t know something, maybe just being open and honest, like they do at support groups, and say:“Hi, my name is ____, and I am starting a business and have no clue what the hell I am doing.”While perhaps that wouldn’t go over well, hopefully you get the point. By creating the type of culture where people ask why, aren’t blamed for their mistakes, and aren’t afraid to ask for help, your organization will run much differently than everyone else’s – all because you didn’t abide by the so-called rules.

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4. Think outside the box 

As our organizations get more complex and dynamic, we need new solutions and should always be reaching for them. The internet, sharing sites, reducing processes, demographic changes, new technologies, and different approaches are all examples of new efforts to improve your success. Who would believe that sports analysis, Amazon, and crowdfunding would create so many new markets and opportunities? You simply need to devote time to exploring new alternatives, finding expertise, and exploring diverse resources.

5. Collaboration

While committees have become a bad word, collaboration should not be. Surgery teams, emergency services, and tragedy responses have all proven that solutions require diverse, expert, and coordinated resources. In particular, most efforts today require different resources. For example, many website developments fail because the sites require content, technical skills, and creativity; however, many projects only have one and fail to get collaboration. In particular, content and creativity have become increasingly important.

In summary, the rules are there to create order, but that doesn’t mean they are perfect. Be observant enough to see where they don’t work, and don’t be afraid to attempt a new way. Think of it this way: If everyone only did what they were told, there would never be anything new.

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