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The Jonny Bairstow Incident: No Rules Rules

Although seemingly unrelated, this occurrence harbours crucial insights for business leaders; When rules are applied inflexibly, they can inhibit growth and stifle innovation.

Jonny Bairstow batting for England in the 2023 Ashes against Australia

England have now lost the Ashes despite arguably being the better team. Weather played its part but so did the infamous Jonny Bairstow stumping. Although seemingly unrelated, this occurrence harbours crucial insights for business leaders.

To provide some context, Bairstow was playing a sweep shot when he slipped and accidentally knocked the bails off his wicket with his bat. Under the strict interpretation of cricket laws, this was ruled as a 'Hit Wicket', resulting in Bairstow's dismissal. Australia, the opposing team, insisted on this ruling despite the accident being an unfortunate coincidence rather than a deliberate poor play. This decision heightened tensions and threatened the spirit of the game.

This event highlights the potential dangers of sticking to the rules too rigidly without applying common sense. Similarly, in business, stringent enforcement of processes can overshadow individual judgement and intelligence. A tendency to favour processes over people could inhibit innovation, stifle growth, and limit the entrepreneurial spirit within an organisation.

It's crucial to acknowledge that people are smarter than process, possessing intelligence and adaptability that surpasses the bounds of fixed processes. Businesses should view processes as guides to assist employees in their work, not as instruments of control. When employees are given room to exercise sound judgement, they can unleash their full potential, fostering innovative solutions and remarkable results, and creating an empowered workforce.

Businesses, like cricket teams, operate within a set of established rules. However, when these rules are applied inflexibly, they can inhibit growth and stifle innovation. An organisation that rigidly follows its rule book may restrict its adaptability and limit opportunities.

This is not an appeal to abolish rules. It's about finding a balance between keeping procedural order and allowing sensible deviations that nurture creativity. Successful businesses, like effective cricket teams, manage this balance well.

Reed Hastings' book, "No Rules Rules", champions empowering individuals within an organisation by fostering

Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer's Netflix book "No Rules Rules"

creativity and ownership, leading to a culture of innovation and growth. By allowing employees the freedom to move away from rigid rules, they can exercise judgement aligning with the best interests of the business. This approach fosters calculated risks, encourages employees to take ownership of their work, and develops a sense of responsibility towards the organisation's success.

Rigid adherence to rules without context could potentially diminish employee motivation and hamper business growth.

When you implement process management software, like ‘beSlick,’ in an empowering way, it can serve as an agent for growth and collaboration. Rather than a tool for surveillance or control. Organisations should utilise these platforms for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and guidance. Through promoting transparency and enabling cross-functional collaboration, process software empowers teams to work cohesively, share ideas, and overcome challenges collectively.

The Jonny Bairstow incident serves as a warning against the pitfalls of rigid rule enforcement. Likewise, in business, strict adherence to processes can stifle growth and restrict employee potential. By prioritising sound judgement over rigid process adherence (people are smarter than process), leaders can tap into their teams' intelligence, creativity, and problem-solving capabilities, harnessing a team's collective brainpower. By harnessing human intelligence and effectively using process software, organisations can foster a dynamic and empowered workforce equipped to drive innovation, achieve success, and adapt to the ever-evolving business landscape.

Remember that sensible deviations from the process can often lead to the most innovative solutions.


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