Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Making & breaking the rules with purpose

Courtesy of comerecommended.com
Question the Rules
Chris Guillebeau, a talented travel blog writer I enjoy following, created a Call To Action (CTA) for  his readers: Questions to ask the people who make the rules

He asked us to consider the list he started and add to it. Already the list has grown and with good reason. 

Occupy Wall Street, a good example of the power (and opportunity) to question the rules, has spread worldwide. This isn't just a joiner event where people play music and have sex in the park. The true motivation might be getting lost in the tabloid noise lately, but thanks to David McCandless, we have a great infographic that explains why people are so angry...it clarifies the PURPOSE behind why the rules are being challenged.

It's our nature to question the rules. In an effort to constantly improve we continuously challenge the status quo even when we may not have the time or energy. 

The irony is that it's also our nature to roll with the status quo even if we're unhappy about it. The key is something near and dear to our soul must be threatened or challenged for rules to be deeply questioned and for change to actually occur.

Picasso courtesy of

Question with purpose
Rules give the artist guidelines for creativity. Rules give a writer focus. Rules give project teams deeper understanding for how to reach the end goal. Rules give product designers best practices for the the design process. Rules give guiding principles that keep us from destroying ourselves and our society.

Make & break the rules
So I'd like to throw out some questions to add to the discussion Chris started:

  • What do rules provide us with?
  • How can they help us do our job better?
  • Why do the parameters that rules create help a group align?
  • Who determines what rules become norms?
  • How can we tell when a rule is no longer useful?
  • How do we stay connected to the purpose of the rule?
  • When should a rule be broken?

I'm interested in hearing what you think. Jump in on the conversation at Chris's The Art of Non-Conformity

Traveling but...
I'm traveling this week so publishing will be light. I'm  working with Boston Scientific and my good friend, Lorraine Munoz, Director of Leadership Development in SoCal. Our focus will be on a workshop called Making Projects Work. I'm sure it will be a great session, but I want to keep the convo going here.

I think it's sexy and appealing to always challenge the rules, but I question if we can do that without context. Let me know what you think on or offline or via Twitter @alisonsigmon

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