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Traditions, policies, standards, rules. We count on them to provide safety and stability in our communities and work- places. But sometimes those guidelines take on a life of their own. They multiply, they live in huge manuals, and they begin to stifle productivity and creativity.

They might also stifle your enjoyment. If you’re feeling blocked—by the rules, the culture, or the boss—don’t despair. There are things you can do to get out of the box you’re in and get more of what you want at work.

My team called the organization a “ship of rules.” It took dozens of signatures and often months to get the simplest request approved. We knew there ...

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