Breaking the Old Rules

We are afraid to break the rules. Fear is a very dominant emotion in humans, and is at the core of our resistance to change. But when we can liberate ourselves from the rules and break a few, just to see what happens, the results can be extraordinary.

More and more companies today are taking the risk to break the old rules and create new workplaces. Some have done this for competitive reasons. The Bay Area, including Silicon Valley, is a great example; recruiting in this region is cut-throat, and only those organizations that provide the flexibility and the best perks get the top talent. Other organizations are responding reactively to the levels of disengagement among their employees, often spurred by an influx of gen Yers whose outside worlds clash dramatically with traditional, buttoned-up corporate cultures.

In any case, such organizations are deliberately moving away from the outdated notions of running their businesses based on activity alone, which is only roughly (and often not at all) correlated with actual business results. In other words, rather than focusing on easy-to-track and obvious behaviors—such as showing up to work and looking presentable—companies are trusting their employees to do these things and finding ways to pay closer attention to impact. The following examples of breaking the old rules honor, in turn, each of the realities of the always-on dilemma, and establish an ideal starting point for thinking about the new rules.

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