Change is hard as us humans don’t like change. However, in organisations, there is another reason why change is so hard, and it’s called Policy.
This was highlighted recently when working with a client who was running an idea challenge. The CEO and the board were sponsoring the challenge and expecting great things. To launch the challenge, the CEO emailed every employee to ask them to get involved by submitting their ideas as they ideas were needed urgently. Good so far.
However, part way through the challenge, they wanted to remind people to get involved to maximise the number of participants. The obvious solution was to send out some reminder emails.
Sounds reasonable, but apparently it wasn’t. This action was blocked because the internal communications department thought that too many emails had been sent, and further emails would break their corporate email policy.
Even through the challenge had the support of the board; their email policy had stopped the much-needed communication. Maintaining policy was more important than involving staff in a board-supported innovation initiative.
Great, employees got less emails, but hang on, less people got involved in the challenge. Which will drive the organisation forward, less emails, or ideas? It’s not a hard question…
My wise friend, Alan G Robinson, recently tweeted:
— Alan Robinson (@alangrobinson) December 8, 2014
Policies aren’t created for fun, but are created to solve an issue or stop a potential issue occurring. It’s all very sensible, until those very policies stop the organisation moving forward into new things that will keep the organisation relevant, current and most importantly, solvent.