Crush Dumbass Rules & Make Them Work for People!

Accountability Personal leadership


This is the second value in the current 10 ATBs Series.

Story: When I check in at a hotel I regularly stay at, they ALWAYS make me sign the same stupid paperwork that says I won’t smoke in a room (and a bunch of other stuff that I don’t care about). And even though I work for a very successful public company, and pay with a corporate credit card, they take a deposit in excess of my room rate. Our bank, to be fair and brutally honest, also has some dumbass rules. As an example, we are only allowed to email transfer a certain amount of funds per day, even when we have plenty of OUR money in our bank account. To pay an invoice more than $3K, we have to do it over several days. How annoying is that to us and the payee? And who are these rules for? Well, certainly not the customer or service employees. Nope… They are primarily to protect the company.

Key Point: So the the second value in our company (obviously not totally implemented yet, based on the example above ) is to Make Banking Work FOR People. You can exchange the word “banking” for your business. Often times, organizations have a bunch of processes that are there for the organization’s risk-management, NOT for the people who deliver them, or customers who receive them. They have often been designed to prevent the company from being ripped off. So what do companies do to reduce economic pain inflicted by a few? Well, they decide to mitigate by creating a rule (often a goofy one) for ALL? When you ask why or confront the rule/process, the unsatisfactory response is, “that’s just the way we do it.” Or the infamous, “it’s company policy.”

Confront every process and rule by looking through the eyes of people who have to execute, and customers that receive it. When people insist that it must be done a certain way, and you know it sucks, get the data. That will inform you. Push back relentlessly, and design differently.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Look at everything you do through the eyes of people who deliver it and customers who receive it. What is that experience like?
  2. Genuinely ask whether the company really has to do it that way?
  3. Be a maverick and break dumb rules, (except those that are legal or compliance requirements). People will applaud, and you will get ahead.
  4. Remember you are a designer. Every process or rule tells you how really people/ customer focused you are. I bet you people can easily name 10 dumbass rules/processes.

Working for People in Personal Leadership,


One Millennial View: How about regularly re-writing and designing the top-rated “goofiest” rules in your company. Legal can inform you if they can’t be changed due to laws. Other top-rated stupid rules get replaced every month? Or I dunno, maybe that sounds like a dumbass rule. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis