Rules aren’t the answer

Thanks to a comment from Bill Ferriter, I finally took the time to watch Barry Schwartz’ recent TED talk. Schwartz talk on the Paradox of Choice remains one of my favourites but this one might surpass it.

For a great synopsis of the talk check out Rob Jacob’s post.

As Bill connected my post on worthless pursuits to this talk, I continue to believe how important it is for us to devise organizations that are focused on responsibility rather than accountability.  Accountability infers rules. Responsibility infers caring.

I’m reminded of friends of ours who are a few years older than us and when we were young parents, they talked to us about their approach to parenting. They told us they had very few rules. They preferred to invest time in developing guidelines and developed understandings with their kids that made sense to everyone. It didn’t mean their kids always did the right things but the discussions and time spent was on values and relationships, not maintaining or rewriting rules. Reminds me of SLA. I understand that many view this approach as idealistic but not realistic in every situation. I would argue, that rules often make us lazy. We would love if we could simply develop a bunch of rules and know that they will be followed. Rules, on their own are never enough.

I pulled a great quote from the talk and created another image for my collection.

<div class=Rules

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