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  • Writer's pictureJohannes Mutzke

Exceptions are Your Friend!?

I recently had lunch with a top executive at a large company. As we were discussing the challenges of making “change happen” in large organizations, he made the following statement that immediately stuck in my mind:

The number of exceptions a company is willing to make to its policies is an indicator of its openness and willingness to change. If you’re primary concern is always how you’ll have to explain the exception to your entire workforce, you’ll never change.

This is profound…in essence, this means that by “pushing the envelope” in one area (the exception) it gives the company the opportunity to experiment and pilot a change on a small scale before launching it to the masses.

Green apples with a red exception

Clearly, it’s a bad sign if policies are not enforced because they prevent employees from “doing the right thing.” However, by the same token, it’s equally bad to let fear hold you back from making exceptions that could enable your organization to innovate, change, and thereby discover a “better thing.”

Exceptions as a way to innovate and make change happen in your organization...who would have thought?

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