If you can trust the 95% then don’t base policies and procedures on the other 5%. The exact figure is not relevant, but the principle is; many organizations suffer from an internal policy-making culture that bases processes and procedures on the 5% that can’t be trusted. It’s why even sometimes the simplest of approvals and processes need some sort of senior management sign off.
And it’s true; there are those in many organizations who need extra boundaries, guidance and limitations in order to be able to perform effectively and within the company’s mandate. In simpler and blunter terms, they can’t really be trusted without specific oversight. This could be something from formal correspondence to clients, to pushing external communications out in a social media platform. Whatever it is, history has proven that there are risks and negative consequences with trusting all.
The problem is in trying to limit the negative consequences of this 5%, we’ve constrained, limited and smothered the freedom of the 95%. ‘Rules’ are created to mitigate risks occurring. Over time, these rules become so ingrained and entwined in the organizational culture that it becomes a swamp of bureaucracy and red tape.
95% is the majority of the workforce, and the majority of the creative energy that is going to help any organization survive in a world which requires constant innovation, adaptation and rebranding in order to remain relevant and meet the expectations placed upon it.
So why not flip it? Take the risk and run your organization based on the 95% you can trust.
Of course, this cannot be applied universally and there are organizations that require stringent policies and procedures. But those who work mainly in the knowledge age, who are trying to innovate and drive ideas into actions have a much better chance of success if they’re given the trust and freedom to really maximize their own gifts.
The foundation of ‘My Why’ is to ’empower and ‘entrust’. So yes, I have a strong bias towards what I’m suggesting, but I genuinely believe that the benefits of trusting and empowering the 95% will outweigh the risks posed by trusting the other 5%.
It’s one of the reasons the ’80/20′ concept has a history of success – the concept encourages and trusts employees to work on whatever they want for a specific amount of time per week. Without limitations, constraints or expectations. Just their creative freedom to drive forwards the organization. Many great products have been developed this way, including the post-it note.
So flip it. Create a culture of trust. The risks from the 5% will be eclipsed by the greatness produced from the 95%.