I can't help but have to comment on this excellent piece by Liz Ryan. Policies have been part of my professional tool box for a while. (Yes sorry passle community this is dry, but thanks for the opportunity to air my views anyway).
Ryan, ex corporate HR Queen and now thought leader/ consultant/ illustrator and soprano is voicing what many of us on the policy development front have felt for a while: a human workplace deserves conversation and debate to deal with human issues instead of more policies. True.
I work in the labyrinth that is financial services regulations. The regulator expects policies and advisors recommend policies, and entire compliance departments exist because of policies. But what good has it really done? ASIC Commissioner Medcraft was spot on when he recently spoke about self regulation and company culture. The cynic in me knows he has to say this because of funding cuts, but let's not reduce the relevance of his message. Look at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia's financial planning debacle which has hurt so many vulnerable customers. If ever there was a case for separating banking activities from financial planning this is it (possibly in another blog). Surely the CBA had policies. But it was obviously missing the most important one of them all: how to be a decent human being. That's the one compliance policy that should go on the front of every manual. If you're not proud to tell your family or friends about what you did at work today, then don't do it! And this applies throughout the hierarchy, and is certainly not reserved for frontline advisors. Management busily focusing on quarterly targets is no exception.
Maybe I can tweet this to CBA's CEO Narev and recommend he subscribe to Ryan's Human Workplace membership service?
Management by policy is the opposite of leadership. It's a way of telling people to trust in authority and words on a page rather than looking into a situation to understand it. It's a way of disenfranchising people by telling them that smarter people have already made the important decisions: all your employees and managers have to do is obey.