Topic of the Week Dogma: Spotting It Where You Work
Dogma: Spotting It Where You Work:
- DO challenge.
- DO explore exceptions.
- DO explore self-interest.
- DON'T stop exploring alternatives.
Dogma: Spotting It Where You Work
Most organizations have their organizational dogma, rules that everyone just accepts to be true. There is only one problem, often these rules don't apply any more. That's why it's so valuable to constantly be on the lookout to identify rules that deserve to be tossed. Which reminds me of the time when British officials stopped a London ice cream parlor from selling a frozen dairy product made from human breast milk. Really, you can't make this stuff up. The Icecreamists parlor introduced "Baby Gaga," made from human breast milk, saying that the flavor was as much "food for thought as it was actual food."
Just as breast milk ice cream forced British officials to reevaluate their policies on frozen treats, all organizations should constantly reevaluate their policies too. That's why I've included three Do's and one Don't below for reexamining things that everyone believes to be true about your organization. For more, check out "The Future of Management" by Gary Hamel (Harvard Business School Press, 2007).
DO challenge. Who are your best customersé Who are your worsté What is the best way to deliver your producté These are just a few areas where dogma can limit the possibilities of your organization. That's why it's so important to constantly be on the lookout for assumptions. Or another way to look at this is to be looking out for places where everyone has drunk the Kool-Aid. This can be a total pain to do, but the rewards are often well worth the effort.
DO explore exceptions. Dick Bolles, the acclaimed author of "What Color Is Your Parachute" always asks this question when it comes to requirements for a job. "Who do you know who is an exception to these requirements, in other words, who got the job without the experience that you say is essentialé" As valuable as this is to ask in a job hunt, it is even more important to ask when it comes to company dogma. Explore the exceptions to your standard operating procedure, and you just may discover radical new ways to get things done.
DO explore self-interest. Let's face it, we all bring a healthy dose of bias to work. That's why it's important to always ask yourself, what do I get out of this. I'm not sure that anyone at work can be truly objective, but we can all continue to monitor our own self-interest and how it influences our decision-making.
DON'T stop exploring alternatives. Okay, I need to make a confession here. I'm probably too interested in exploring alternatives at work. I often find myself shooting holes in the way things are currently being done just for the sake of seeing if there is a better way.
The person in charge of the Icecreamist ice cream parlor said that the breast milk ice cream was actually sweeter than regular ice cream. And you'll find that your organizational effectiveness will become sweeter if you follow the tips above to tackle the dogma where you work.
About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. Sherrie Campbell is a work relations expert and award-winning comedian. Check out their 13 years of searchable content at http://workplace911.com. They'd also love to hear your workplace rants or raves. Email them via firstname.lastname@example.org.