Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Law in the business world (part 2)

I have written before about Law and Grace in business management. But today I couldn't help but be amazed at how frequently we think that policies and willpower will help us achieve our goals.

I got the quote below from a coworker's email regarding the new policy he is implementing (some parts redacted for company privacy sake):

"Attached is a draft of the daily compliance audit. ... When this is complete, I can provide materials to support this process. Our goal is 100% compliance, 100% accountability, 100% of the time." (emphasis his, not mine)

Really? That's all we are shooting for? 100% compliance, 100% of the time?

Now I happen to have a great deal of respect for this particular person; he is excellent at his job. But since when is 100% compliance to anything attainable? Is there any rule in your life--any rule, no matter how small--that you follow 100% of the time? If someone audited you every day, could you follow that rule 100% of the time? Do you get up when your alarm goes off 100% of the time? Do you shower properly 100% of the time (wash, lather, rinse, repeat)? Always brush your teeth the way the dentist recommends? Always drive the speed limit? Always take out the trash? Even the very easiest rules in life are unachievable 100% of the time. Most of us have broken half a dozen 'rules' that we intend to follow by the time we leave the house in the morning.

If we cannot follow the easy rules, how are we to achieve the more lofty ones?

As a manager in business, I have found that it is critical that we do not expect our employees to achieve perfection--setting up perfection as the goal is a major demotivating factor. Success does not come from our setting of lofty goals and rolling out inspection methods to catch variance. Success comes when we set attainable goals and remove the barriers which prevent their achievement.

God made us all to want justice and order; but our sinful natures make it impossible to achieve even the easiest goals with 100% compliance. The Law is not bad--in fact, it is good! (Just as my coworker's policy is good.) But our sinful natures cannot achieve perfection to the law...and that is true whether you are trying to please God or trying to please your boss.

Beware the weight that striving for perfection puts on the soul.

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