Over the last few weeks I have had the chance to mention my freedom agenda in various conversations. Freedom from location, freedom from hierarchy and freedom from dogma. If you want to know more it is in my book ‘Paradigms Lost’.
With the last one I have always referred to it as sticking to the rules that matter but that isn’t quite right. There are some rules that are important that we may not think matter, such as the speed limit. Many people break the speed limit but it is there for a reason and people are more likely to die the faster they go (if they crash).
Thinking about it, what I really mean by freedom from dogma is to not get stuck in the belief system that runs an organisation.
We’ve always done it that way. That’s not the way we do it. You’ll never be allowed to do that. Alarm bells should be ringing.
Freedom from dogma means you have the right to challenge the policies and procedures, to think about the reason behind them and ensure that the objectives are being met. It allows you to challenge the assumptions, the sacred cows that are held by every organisation and that stifle the creative process.
No business can run on anarchy. It needs rules and procedures to guide it towards its purpose and therein lies the point. As time goes on, businesses tend to add rules to address specific areas of concern yet rarely remove them. With every rule, the greater the chance that the business is being diverted from its purpose and the greater the likelihood that myth and legend will grow around them. The rules take on a life of their own, develop a fanatiacla following and become the corporate religion.
Freedom from dogma gives you the right to challenge the rules, to test them against the aims and objectives of the business and to work to remove them if indeed they are a barrier.
When you are faced with dogma, you need to challenge it and ask what was it intended for and why it is still in place? If it is in line with the company’s objectives then all is good. If not, then free yourself (and your colleagues).
This is what I mean.