After a class on Writing Policies and Procedures, someone asked, “Do you have any advice for dealing with a manager who won’t enforce a rule?”

My response is to address the manager’s apathy or resistance as a Sales, Motivation, Systems, and/or Change issue.

  • Sales: good sales people patiently build long-term relationships in order to develop a “drip watering” system of winning over their prospect—in this case, the manager.
  • Motivation: Ask yourself, what will motivate the manager to want to enforce the rules? Hint: the big three—profits, production, and people-morale—either increasing or diminishing, are their main motivators.
  • Systems: over 85% of issues are around systems and culture. The manager may perceive that the system supports their apathy and resistance. Looking deeper and broader for the systems answer rather that at individual managers may serve as an appropriate “end run” so that enforcement becomes part of the culture and the manager must comply.
  • Change: consider using John Kotter’s 8 Steps for Change (Link 1, Link 2) to help you make the culture/systems changes  the company needs.

Please reply and let me know your thoughts! ARGH!