Flevy Blog is an online business magazine covering Business Strategies, Business Theories, & Business Stories.

What Happens When the Rules Cause Chaos?

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Handbook on Developing Operating Policies (12-page PDF document). This is a handy guide for consultants and board directors on how to develop working operating policies for their organizations. Effective policies need to be simple, self correcting by the users, and at the same time, sufficiently comprehensive. If a simple set of procedures would do, then do not [read more]

* * * *

Editor’s Note: Jim Cucinotta is a very senior executive, with over 20+ years of experience in leading sales, marketing, and operations teams.  He is also an author on Flevy.  You can view his firm’s business training guides here.

* * * *

chaos_theoryAs a manager, you are governed by a set of rules, norms, and cultural standards that help guide your business decisions.  And for the vast majority of times, these standards help form the right way to handle a work situation.  The rules protect both the employee and the employer.

But what happens when the rules actually cause chaos?  Must you follow them to the letter?  Are you obligated to ignore them?  Will your superiors support you if you make the right decision, but it falls against the norms?

These types of decisions happen every day and many times you do not realize it.  How you deal with your employees’ attire, workplace interactions, and “free time” activities may all be in the gray area of your company’s published guidelines.  Your guidelines may not cover tweeting, posting, or shopping at work.  Or dress down days, telecommuting, and other “new” things in the workplace.

If you are a stickler for the rules, you may be running into a huge dilemma- how do I manage a situation without the safety of our corporate policies?  Even if you are a maverick, how do you manage the situation without some guidelines?  Failure to act will certainly cause issues, but how do you maneuver?

The answer is actually pretty easy:

  1. Involve your team (including HR and your supervisor).  For dress down days, discuss what people can wear when clients are coming to the office versus an inventory day.  Working from home is a great perk, but everyone needs to be available between normal work hours.  Posting your lunch may be an acceptable activity, tweeting your opinions about a co-worker, not so much.
  1. Create guidelines that are fair, consistent with your normal policies, and are steeped in common sense.  For instance, is it reasonable to wear running shorts to work?  If you work for Nike, maybe, IBM, not so much.
  1. Explain the basis behind your decisions, it will help your team when the next vague crisis takes place.  People crave consistency, explaining your decisions helps them understand your logic.

Managing situations inside of your company’s policies is hard, managing situations outside of them is even harder.  But by being inclusive, smart and transparent, you can help create policies that others will follow.

51-slide PowerPoint presentation
The world have enough cases of failures occasioned by inconsistent strategy implementation, excessive risk taking and frequently graft. In many of these organizations, risk taking is siloed nature and there is lack of risk visibility, has inadequate controls, and shows clear lack absence of [read more]

Do You Want to Implement Business Best Practices?

You can download in-depth presentations on Corporate Policies and 100s of management topics from the FlevyPro Library. FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.

For even more best practices available on Flevy, have a look at our top 100 lists:

These best practices are of the same as those leveraged by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and Accenture. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by utilizing these best practice frameworks, templates, and tools. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with over 20+ years of experience.

Readers of This Article Are Interested in These Resources

23-page PDF document
This document describes: (1) How to implement corporate policies, procedures and other management controls better (your hard controls) by using and improving the aspects of soft controls (such as tone at the top, understanding of the organization by the board, culture, [read more]

About Jim Cucinotta

Jim Cucinotta is a co-founder of Halo Health, a marketing company focused on Digital Patient Education. Jim has over 20 years experience in leading sales, marketing, and operations teams. He has managed thousands of employees over his career and has worked on over 1,000 products that have made it to the retail shelves. He is also an author on Flevy (view his documents here)

Complimentary Business Training Guides

Many companies develop robust strategies, but struggle with operationalizing their strategies into implementable steps. This presentation from flevy introduces 12 powerful business frameworks spanning both Strategy Development and Strategy Execution. [Learn more]

  This 48-page whitepaper, authored by consultancy Envisioning, provides the frameworks, tools, and insights needed to manage serious Change—under the backdrop of the business lifecycle. These lifecycle stages are each marked by distinct attributes, challenges, and behaviors. [Learn more]

We've developed a very comprehensive collection of Strategy & Transformation PowerPoint templates for you to use in your own business presentations, spanning topics from Growth Strategy to Brand Development to Innovation to Customer Experience to Strategic Management. [Learn more]

  We have compiled a collection of 10 Lean Six Sigma templates (Excel) and Operational Excellence guides (PowerPoint) by a multitude of LSS experts. These tools cover topics including 8 Disciplines (8D), 5 Why's, 7 Wastes, Value Stream Mapping (VSM), and DMAIC. [Learn more]
Recent Articles by Corporate Function






The Flevy Business Blog (https://flevy.com/blog) is a leading source of information on business strategies, business theories, and business stories. Most of our articles are authored by management consultants and industry executives with over 20 years of experience.

Flevy (https://flevy.com) is the marketplace for business best practices, such as management frameworks, presentation templates, and financial models. Our best practice documents are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier consulting firms (like McKinsey, Bain, Accenture, BCG, and Deloitte) and used by Fortune 100 organizations. Learn more about Flevy here.

Connect with Flevy:


About Flevy.com   /   Terms   /   Privacy Policy
© . Flevy LLC. All Rights Reserved.