Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Enforce Rules Mercilessly

To continue the thought from my last post, you should enforce your rules mercilessly.

If you want workers to respect the rules you've created for your company, then you must enforce them judiciously. No exceptions. People must know that you are serious about the rules.

Make sure you also enforce them fairly. Suit the punishment to the crime. Not every infraction warrants a death sentence, so keep your temper.

Obviously criminals, gross violators and repeat offenders need to go. You want to foster a sense of community in your workers. You want people to feel that they are part something greater than themselves. To achieve that you have to keep them safe from predators and trouble makers.

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But how do you deal with the great worker that slips up once? He shouldn't expect leniency and I don't recommend you let him off completely.

Fines are a great alternative. Not all fines are monetary. Give them extra work or a real tedious task that everyone hates. I once required one fellow to make coffee every two hours for a month. His co-workers enjoyed teasing him mercilessly and we all had fresh java all day.

If you get creative you'll find great ways to fine people for minor transgressions. It can even be fun.

Again, don't create too many rules but enforce them mercilessly. Just be sure to suit the punishment to the crime. Real bad eggs need to go.  Otherwise, keep punishments simple and useful.

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