Keep the Rules Simple

There are times when we need very specific rules and guidelines, like when someone is performing surgery. Yes, I definitely want my surgeon to follow the appropriate procedures. However, if I need someone to improve the marketing for a company, there aren't a set of specific rules to follow. Sure there's etiquette and there's definitely general principles to follow, but not a step by step list. This is were having a few simple overarching rules/ideas will help to work as a guide during this process.

Michael Pollen has a great example of this idea. It's actually about food, but it works. He says "eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Now I'm not trying to get into a nutrition discussion here. The point is that anyone can remember those rules and not be overwhelmed. That’s exactly what is needed so often in business. I can't remember who originally said this, but it goes something like this: After making sure someone is qualified for the task, let them complete the task without telling them how to do it and you may be surprised by what they come up with.

What does this look like?

  • The rules should be specific to what needs to be accomplished. i.e. the marketing of a company
  • The rules should be simple. When rules are overly complex, they become difficult to remember and implement.
  • There should only be a few rules. Most people aren't going to remember pages worth of rules when trying to complete a task. They will remember some, but certainly not all.

What to remember: Having a lot of rules, especially if they're complex, will make the process less efficient. Therefore, keep the number of rules low and make them simple.