I’m not usually a stickler for the rules. In fact, you could say I have more of a tendency to prefer to play most situations fast and loose without the restriction of harsh boundaries. I enjoy having freedom to make decisions based on my own judgment and perceptions and not just because I’m supposed to do the task a certain way. If there’s a smarter way to get something done using different strategies than ones already in place, I’m absolutely an advocate for that sort of innovation. Without that experimentation in the workplace, a business would never evolve. But there are some situations where having protocol is necessary and welcome—situations where people who do decide to mess with a good system just end up screwing everyone involved. Why waste energy and resources doing something differently every time when you could come up with one way, the best way, and stick to that consistent method? That’s what builds companies, in my opinion. Consistency, followed by innovation. Or something like that.
This is a subject I feel pretty damn passionate about because I’ve seen a company operating with a total lack of consistency or guidelines of almost any kind. Actually, I see the lack of it every single day. My office has zero protocol, and it’s slowly making me insane.
If there are forty people who do the exact same task, in my office, then there are forty different ways that it’s being done. You can imagine the chaos, except you probably can’t because it is absolute insanity. Who is in charge of what and how people are doing things changes daily. Part of that is due to the fact that we’re growing rapidly, which is great. A lot of the kinks that are being worked out within the company are simple growing pains that will be ironed out with time and attention. I was hired right when the development of my division was beginning, and I spearheaded the growth. But as I’ve gotten more intimate with the workings of other mid and upper managers, I’m horrified by the total anarchy taking place.
We’re a company turning a huge profit that’s expanding nationally and we treat literally each assignment in a different way. We invent positions from the ground up and slot people into them as needed, which is necessary to adapt to the changing needs of the company, but then nobody knows who the fuck is in charge of anything because half the time these promotions don’t come with a new org chart or even a job description for everyone to see. I could potentially get away with dropping the ball on pretty much anything because I could always argue that it was something I didn’t know I was in charge of and everyone would believe me. I’m living in a business world of perpetual anarchy. Implementation of protocol is just about impossible because even if upper management did choose to back me up, which could take weeks of back and forth for the simplest guidelines, it’s still pretty unclear whether the people I’d be giving orders to are obligated to listen. Am I really in charge of you? Who knows? Anyone?
The freedom this system brings, honestly, is awesome. It allows for massive strides in innovation, and the fact that we evolve constantly keeps us fresh and marketable. But we have no substance. Every single day is a day survived, business-wise, by the skin of our teeth. We operate on a total “cross the bridge when we come to it” mentality, which allows for no long-term planning whatsoever. When every situation is handled differently, every outcome is different, and every outcome has different needs. I could spend all day trying to streamline a process for one office only to have it completely shift in an office across the country in the same day. New practices are obsolete almost as soon as they’re set, and exactly who is in charge of combatting that is anyone’s guess. Until that’s decided, anarchy will rule. I’m in the middle of a risky little game, here, and it’s still anyone’s guess what will happen next. Will I wind up working for a multi-million dollar, highly successful company, or will it all go up in flames? Stay tuned. I’ll be right there on the edge of my seat with you. .
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