Just because your read it….

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April 25, 2013 – ISSN# 1545-2646


                            Just because you read it…

On more than one occasion I have read an instruction, rule, process, procedure or any number of transfer of information record and nodded my head in understanding.  I captured the words and maybe some of the meaning in a picture in my mind for future recall when needed. I felt pretty confident that I understood all the ins and outs of the text. I was prepared!

Unfortunately, like many of us, just because I read it and tried to capture the essence of the words, I did not necessarily capture the breath of the intent and application of the information. It was not for a lack of trying or commitment to want to do the action correctly but there is sometimes a large difference between the picture the words create and the actual meaning of what the words were attempting to disclose.

Tax season for many wrapped up on April 15.  The tax code is crazy long and filled with too numerous to identify instructions to theoretically assist the tax payer/preparer to prepare a statement of liability and the associated payment of the value. For those of you that have ever attempted to complete a slightly more complicated tax filing and had to venture into the world of IRS instruction you might have an overwhelming experience of not having a clue as to what the intent is of the instruction. You may read it as words but then moving it from text to context into application are very different things.

There are many sets of guidelines, rules and regulations we live by in our society.  They have come into play over the years as a result of someone moving too far outside of the boundaries that were either set up or were absent to keep continuity among the parties involved. Our businesses also have many defined rules and expectations.  Some are written down and given to employees in the form of handbooks etc.  Others are part of the cultural make up and although unwritten carry an equal amount of weight in the running of the organization. 

It is when the unwritten rules are violated that a new written guideline is established so that what was once understood by many but unwritten can now be available to all via written documentation. These written regulations are used to give protection to both parties so each understand where their responsibility is for a given topic.

The challenge is back to – just because they are read does not mean they understand the why, how, how come etc. of the written word. To move beyond the written word, leadership must act/behave in alignment with the text for the words to come to life and be visualized by the organization.

For example, if the work start time is 9:00am and the definition is for the employee to be at their workstation ready to perform their duties, it does not mean stepping foot inside the lobby of the building and then taking 10-15 minutes to go to their desk, grab a coffee etc. 

This week, take some time to consider your culture, your rules written and unwritten.  For those which are written, does your team understand not just what is written but why the rule exists.  By giving the reason why it exists can add great depth of understanding to the reason the rule was crafted.   With respect to the example earlier, the 9:00am start time and ready to perform is founded in that the mission statement has customer experience and satisfaction as grounding principles of running the business.  If the customer arrives or calls at that time, the expectation as set forth in the company directives is to be serviced at the highest level of satisfaction.  If the staff is not ready, it is very difficult to perform as expected.

Wondering about living up to the rules and expectations in your organization? Give JKL Associates a call at (313) 527-7945 or send us an email to discuss.

Questions or comments – email us at partners@jklassociates.com or call our Office at (313) 527-7945

Copyright – JKL Associates 2013

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JKL Associates
18530 Mack Ave #242
Grosse Pointe Farms MI 48236

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