Break the rules if you need to

I’ve got to admit it. I’ve never been good with rules.

I’ve never coped well with environments that have conditions of entry or specific guidelines that must be followed. I sucked at working for the government - I had a seemingly epic job (creating environmental awareness campaigns) but when it came down to it, I felt like I was being asked to jump through hoops for the sake of jumping through hoops. So much red tape. So many meetings. A dress code. Specific working hours that needed to be adhered to regardless as to whether or not you’d actually done the work.

None of it made sense to me.

I sometimes question what it is in me that rejects rules and regulations. Over time I’ve realised it’s not that I’m an anarchist, or someone who hates rules for the sake of hating rules (that’s as bad as meetings for the sake of meetings). Actually what sits at the root of it all is curiosity, common sense & a focus on solutions & impact.

And so when a challenge arises those things kick in. I ask myself:

What’s the smartest/most efficient/most innovative way to solve this ?

What makes the most sense ?

How do we create impact ?

How can we get to a solution ?

Which is normally when the compliance gang show up and say - “Ah Linz, you can’t do it like that”, or “Hmm no we have to follow these guidelines”, and “It’s got to look like this”, or “We’ll go do some research and get back to you.” or my personal favourite - “That’s just how it works round here.”

And my answer to pretty much every one of these statements is - Why ? Why do we have to do it like that ? What if it doesn’t make any sense ? What if we’ll waste time doing that ? Why can’t we test this way out ?

I guess the reason I’m sharing this today is to tell you that the start up world is messy. That things will be unpolished. That normal procedures won’t be followed. And that actually, you’ll be really stoked about it. Because that’s where innovation lies. That’s where change happens.