When it comes to leading teams we all need guidelines and boundaries (i.e. rules), right? I mean, how will our team members know what is expected of them if we don’t? Rules totally make sense. Now, before you bust a vein trying to come up with all the rules you will possibly need, read on, I have news for you.
You are never going to cover every angle. You are never going to close every loop hole.
Rules tend to have a short life span. The environment in which rules live is always changing, and therefore rules need to be continually revised and team members retrained. In larger organizations change is often postponed because of the pain involved in that process. If you happen to be a church (or organization) with hundreds upon hundreds of by-laws or procedures, you might know what I mean.
We may get what needs done with the help of rules, but when it comes to the development of people, I don’t think rules actually help at all. There is one vital piece missing – context. If you want people to help you achieve specific goals by following the rules, they need to know the “why” behind it.
The beauty of communicating the “why” effectively enough, is that you don’t need as many rules. In fact, a lot of what used to be rules are now naturally implicit behavior/tasks to fulfilling the vision.
With a well defined vision, the rules now have meaning and a benchmark.
So, this is why the post is titled “Vision First, Rules Second”, because while I think rules are fine and necessary, vision is more important. If you don’t have a vision, you need one. If you have a vision you need to communicate it over and over. When people capture the vision, rules become virtually unnecessary.