trying to accomplish something

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“There are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.”

Thomas A. Edison

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Ok.

 

Anyone who reads what I typically write already knows I struggle with rules <although I do like discipline & construct>.

 

And that is why I love his quote.

 

This is the guy who pretty much failed more than any inventor, let alone anyone, and yet was more successful in the end.

 

 

I continuously read he was often a jerk and egotistical and had all the flaws that make someone fairly intolerable socially despite the fact he was a relentless innovator.

 

 

Well.

 

I am gonna disregard that and focus on the quote.

 

 

One of which well articulates the fact that if you truly want to accomplish something stunning, something really big, something that turns the world slightly upside down … there are no rules.

 

 

Why?

 

Because the rules keep you from attaining everything I wrote in that sentence.

Rules maintain the norm.

Rules maintain the status quo.

Rules maintain “what is” and never <ok … rarely> generate “what can be.”

What is possible (impossible within the rules) is typically attained when you break thru the boundaries of what is accepted and what everyone feels comfortable with (the ‘rules’ which have generated past success) and you reach out to something new and innovative.

 

hugh 50 something same old thinking

Rules are dictated by what got you to the success you attained today. And those same rules restrict you from attaining future “new unseen success.”

 

 

To be clear.

 

 

Does this mean I am suggesting chaos is good? Nope.

 

 

I am simply suggesting that rules often restrict you from anything but maintaining the status quo (which isn’t bad but at its core simply means you are stagnant in one sense or another). And at some point someone is gonna come along and break the rules.

I can guarantee that.

 

 

And as a leader you will be judged by how you handle that.

 

Because not all rule breakers are good.

Just as not all rule breakers are bad.

 

You, as a leader, are bad – ok. you suck. – if you judge all rule breakers equally.  As in “they broke a rule and that is bad.”

You suck because that means you are not only mired in a sea of maintaining sameness but you have also attained the true status of squelching any innovative thinking that could possibly help you, or whatever you are managing, “break out” and get to the next level.

 

 

Am I suggesting this is easy? Nope.

And that is why so many leaders suck.

 

Because it is easier to maintain the status quo.  It is easier to have everyone follow the rules.

Because then your job is simply herding and not leading.

 

Herders suck because they simply follow rules.

 

 

Leaders attain their status because they know how to make exceptions (and maintain the overall organization momentum).

 

 

Following rules is easy.

 

And lazy.

 

 

But, to be clear, not all rules that are broken is a good thing.

 

Some rules kind of keep some necessary boundaries <on behavior and such>.

 

So, as are most things in life, there is no formula.obey rules

And those who break rules are as likely to have fucked up as they are to have been stunningly successful.

 

 

I still want those people in my groups.

I love those people within my organizations.

 

Stunning failures with glimpses of success should be celebrated for the attempt of glory. And leaders shouldn’t chastise but teach. For in every stunning failure there is an opportunity for a stunning success.

And shame on any leader who doesn’t recognize that.

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Written by Bruce