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Policies, Procedures, Processes

When “going postal” was very much in the news in the 1990’s, I was hired to teach conflict resolution for the US Postal Service. (I kid you not.) One of the things that became quickly apparent to me was that the post office had policies and procedures for everything. Some supervisors took the policy manual very seriously and wouldn’t cut their subordinates any slack. Other supervi- sors found ways to be more flexible which, in turn, made the workers feel more empowered. Too much bureau- cracy can suck the living daylights out of any person, any organization, or any creative idea.

I’m reminded of what a friend once told me about the dress policy that was in place at the company he once worked for. Very simply it stated: “When determining what appropriate dress is, and what it is not, use a simple rule: If you are not sure, it is time to go back to your closet.” That’s empowerment.

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