Making it easier to do great work. Hacking all things stupid.

Breaking Silly Rules

A Must-Do in today’s highly-disruptive, constantly-changing world

Through all my consulting assignments, I’ve observed what I (very
unscientifically) call the 80:20 Rule of Silly Rules.

About 20% of the rules we’re supposed to follow at work are seriously
necessary, for the safety and well-being of all involved. And about
80% of the rules were probably well-intentioned at some point,
but are now impractical, silly, or completely unnecessary.

Here’s a non-corporate example of what I mean: As you read this, I will be
on my third visit to Florence, Italy, and my second visit of Michelangelo’s

I was an art major in college. That means I truly get the reason that
photographs of most art are no-no’s… Degradation is a real threat.
Paintings and fabrics must be protected. So I wouldn’t have dared to
sneak a photo when I saw The Last Supper in Milan, or ancient
scrolls in Guangzhou, China, or medieval tapestries in Sweden,
Scotland, or France.

But prohibiting photos of Michelangelo’s David? C’mon Italian government:
While it remains one of the world’s best-known statues, it also stood
outside in the Palazzo Vecchio, exposed to all of Florence’s weather for
almost 375 years, until it was replaced by a replica in 1910.

I will retract this post if an art curator tells me I’m way wrong,
but I’m pretty sure that marble that stood outside for centuries will not
by harmed by my cell-phone selfie of me and Dave. And prohibiting photos
for capitalistic reasons, so you can sell more post cards and posters…

It seemed to me to be an arbitrary and silly rule. One that turned me
and hundreds of others during my last visit, into on-the-sly law-breakers…
because, of course, we couldn’t leave without our photo of David’s butt
and more. (Left photo above taken with replica: legal. Photo on right: illegal.)

Back to the world of work…

If you’re a victim of Silly Corporate Rules: You must start ignoring,
breaking, or hacking workarounds on those silly rules.
There’s too
much demand for speed and morebetterfaster results to keep being a silly
rule-follower. Hack away!

Basic rules for doing so…

1. Common sense. Does the rule defy your commonsensibilities? If so,
it’s ripe for ignoring it or for a workaround.
2. Permission v. Forgiveness. If the consequence is having to ask for
forgiveness, or looking bad, or being told to sit in the corner and think about
what you did — go ahead and hack a workaround. In the long-run, it’ll be
worth it!

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on LinkedIn0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Us/Like Us on