Life & Work

How corporate policies stifle growth


The global economy has suffered a series of unprecedented shocks and blows over the past few years. FILE PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

Almost all companies have withstood numerous storms owing to their ability to make sense out of situations, and as guided by systems, policies and procedures in place deployed to diagnose and troubleshoot.

Such items have enabled the companies to define a way of reacting to emerging issues occurring to the company. This has eliminated panics and random solutions that might have worsened the situation.

Joseph Greeny submitted that top performers set their goals to improve behaviours and processes rather than outcomes.

He saw an outcome as a default happening when inputs such as raw materials, tools, systems and people combine in a specific ratio to derive a definite outcome.

Therefore, there is a lot that the systems deployed to make firms to be resilient and achieve the intended results.

Let me spoil the party! For the last three years, we have witnessed phenomena that appeared not to be aligning with our policies or system in place, or rather at no point do our systems, processes and even procedures anticipate such a bigger shock as the one that came with Covid-19.

Several companies came out of it albeit bruised others went under as they couldn’t separate trees from the forest and despite following to the later the instruments deployed to guide the decision-making in case of a shock.

This moves us to double click or debrief on the issue and answer if at all one shoe fits all approach carries the day when it comes to finding solutions to modern problems.

Disaster or a pandemic requires talents to think on their toes and mostly out of the box, the adage that extraordinary times calls for extraordinary measures couldn’t be echoed properly than under such circumstances, but the greatest impediment to the thinking are factors that we have lined at the workplace to provide the one approach to all the problems and the enemy becomes that policy.

We hire premium talents with minds that are able to see the best approaches to salvage situations but most of the time we are waiting for any policy violation to land the hammer, this has really affected innovation and creative thinking.

Talents are approaching problems with so many firewalls that leaves them with limited headroom to properly provide solutions.

As we develop, design and deploy policies, let us also allow for an exit if it no longer serves its intended purpose, as most of the time failing to take an appropriate action impacts business.

Stopping or curtailing thoughts is the greatest undoing in any business that seeks to be competitive in the current landscape.

As we seek to answer what works and requires better enablement to work, let us not shy away from discussing and calling out what no longer works and how that system, policy or process can be phased out.

An electricity was never an improvement of a candle. It was never a candle version 2.0 but a transformation in form and shape to provide a better solution to lighting, that’s the transformative space we have to allow if we have the desire to realise superior experiences.

If Thomas Edison the inventor of the electric bulb could have been working with us today, with the much-publicised failures before he came up with a working bulb, we could have fired him on performance after the second trial but what about his passion to realise a better experience?

Do we have such safe spaces at the workplaces for people to open up their minds and try out things with no summons for hearing?

What happens when what is deployed to enable starts disabling?

The writer is a Group HR Manager, Board Member and thought leader.

Email: [email protected]