What's Driving You Crazy
It’s too difficult to understand the fundamental rules of an organization or unclear what these rules are.
Defined by Don Sull and Kathy Eisenhardt, as “short cut strategies that save time and effort by focusing our attention and simplifying the way that we process information.” The best simple rules aren’t universal–they are tailored to fit particular people and places.
Case studies featuring Simple Rules
The Simple Rule of having Interaction Scripts
In their paper, Fostering Positive Relational Dynamics: The Power of Spaces and Interaction Scripts, Michael Y. Lee, Melissa Mazmanian, and Leslie Perlow observed teams and conducted interviews over the course of their 10 week intervention. They asked teams to set specific meeting times and “provided concrete guidelines for team members to engage in interactions designed to promote sharing about personal lives and current work challenges” through interaction scripts, which they define as “concrete guidelines for interaction that specify content pa- rameters and participation rules for interaction”. This study found that having this “simple rule” of interaction scripts and defined meeting spaces fostered positive team interpersonal and team dynamics, including increased respect, openness, and connectedness. These “interaction scripts” are agreed upon explicit playbooks that detail specific content and participation norms for team interactions, and are an example of the implementation of the “simple rule” mentality.
The Simple Rule of Only Four Interviews Before an Offer at Google
In the early years of Google, Larry Page, the co-founder and then CEO, would subject candidates to endless rounds (often 14 to 15 rounds) of interviews only to ultimately not extend them an offer. He thought this painful and time consuming process was necessary to make the right hiring decisions. Yet as Google grew into a mature company, this practice had devolved into a sacred cow even though it was no longer necessary for most job searches and was driving away top candidates. So Laszlo Block, Head of People Operations at Google, added a simple rule: If more than four interviews were going to be conducted with a candidate, the request had to be sent to him and he had to grant an exception to the policy. This rule conveyed that the old sacred cow was dead. Most Googlers were hesitant to ask an Executive Vice-President like Laszlo for an exception, so gauntlet soon disappeared. Laszlo’s little rule is also a great illustration of how to use constructive friction to battle addition sickness.
How to use Simple Rules
Brainstorm with employees (engage all levels) what key tenants that our organization should live by?
Once sourcing these ideas a selected team with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and viewpoints can be assembled to ultimately decide which should actually be implemented.