Rules, procedures and pedestrian crossings

Rules, procedures and pedestrian crossings

Following my recent  blog posts about stuff like Agile marketing and ‘give it a go and see what happens’ and Developing a digital marketing strategy in the real world here’s something a bit more random and based on the stuff which rattles around in your head. My head anyway!

On my way into the office I cross a busy road junction and four pedestrian crossings. Sometimes the man is green … but sometimes the man is red. When the man is green I walk and so does everyone else. When the man is red I sometimes walk but more often than not everyone else waits for the man to turn green. That’s the rule. That’s the procedure for crossing the road safely. Sometimes the road is reasonably clear and with good timing and appropriate care you can still cross safely. Sometimes the road is entirely clear of traffic. But people still wait. Because that’s the rule.

rules, procedures and pedestrian crossings

Rules and procedures are there for a reason. They provide us with a prescribed direction and a basis for progressing a particular course of action. But we must think and make sure we apply the rules appropriately – in a way that does not prevent us from reaching our end goal, take us an unnecessarily long time to get there or even undermine the very thing we are trying to achieve.

But often people don’t think. In fact some rules are there so people don’t have to think. A pilot’s pre-flight checklist for example. But not all rules are like that. Not all rules are to be applied blindly and indisciminately. Sometimes it is safe to cross the road when the man is red.