Don't be Afraid to Change the Rules

by Paul Sloane

Don’t be Afraid to Change the Rules If you have been watching the Olympics you will have noticed that there has been an important rule change for the track athletes. They are no longer allowed a false start. Any false start means instant disqualification.

The introduction of this new rule was controversial. The previous false start warning system had been in use for many years and people were comfortable with it. But some athletes exploited it by gambling on beating the gun. Despite dire warnings the new rule has worked well and the athletes have complied. It removes the problem of false starts and speeds up the meeting.

The lesson is that every rule, no matter how long it has been in place, needs to be examined and replaced if necessary. When you propose a change to a long-standing rule there will be many objections. The leader has to have the courage to over-ride the objections and try the innovation. Every major change is opposed but progress depends on leaders overcoming opposition.

image credit: sportinglife

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Paul SloanePaul Sloane writes, speaks and leads workshops on creativity, innovation and leadership. He is the author of The Innovative Leader and editor of A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing, both published by Kogan-Page.

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