No Policies - Good or Bad?
"We trust you", they said.
"Make reasonable decisions yourself", they said.
"Policies are unnecessary bureaucracy", they said.
"You don't need to ask for approval", they said.
... and people aren't happy with all this freedom.
What do you think, what do people feel and what they really need, when they request "clear rules", "public policies", "1-1s, performance reviews & development plans"?
We see that many times companies give freedom without clear guidelines. They just ditch rules and expect people to fully enjoy it. This is not always the case though, especially if expectations are unclear.
Instead, dig deeper in understanding what's missing. I think nobody can really answer these questions but the employees who request more rules.
Can they properly assess their own performance? Do teams/individuals know when they're doing a good/bad job? Do they feel responsibility/accountability? Just having freedom often isn't that much fun.
What are the guidelines or "rules of the game" within which they can operate? Think of it like a game of football, lots of freedom and autonomy but with few clear rules within which teams can operate.
We first visited Haier headquarters in Qingdao, China in 2017. We enjoyed an extended conversation with CEO Zhang Ruimin. He told us "there is no such thing as a successful company. There are only companies that move with the times". Those words intrigued me. In hindsight, I never truly understood them. Now I think I do. Let me explain.
For years we've travelled the globe visiting the world's most radical organizations. We've visited more than 120 pioneers so far, and continue to learn how workplaces can be more joyful, fun, and rewarding. Today, we launch a new initiative: an initiative aimed at giving more people the opportunity to learn directly from pioneers.