Held back by Custodians of Procedure


As a young manager eager to make a difference, you would have suggested a new way of doing a task, only to be stopped because you were not following the “correct procedure.” Or, you walked up to your boss with a great proposal but he sent you away to talk to the “right person”.


Whilst it’s frustrating for you, organisations miss out on opportunities to tap into the entrepreneurial spirit of their staff. Large and small organisations are often trapped by outdated and irrelevant SOPs. The SOPs are managed by executives who are “doing their job”. As was the case with the staff of United Airlines who made the news this year, for forcibly evicting a passenger on their oversold flight. In the aftermath of the incident, CEO, Oscar Munoz made a public apology but acknowledged that staff were only “following procedure”.


Is your organisation held back by executives, who might aptly be called “Custodians of Procedure”? They see their role as protecting the greater interests of the company. Dig a little deeper and you are likely to find two other reasons;

  1. The Custodians have defined their jobs as just that. Busy protecting the process, the outcome might no longer be in the interests of the company. Perhaps it’s because the “why ” question is no longer asked, lost in the many revisions necessary to get the SOP right!

  2. The Custodians are concerned about their job security. Management is not addressing this issue directly with them – if they are not policing processes, will they have a role in the company?

If you would like to learn more about instilling entrepreneurial management into your company, through the adoption of the 9 ENTREPRENEURisms do visit our website, or contact me directly.



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