Developing Culture not Rules

Last week I visited my university library, where I spend most of my time while at campus. Before entering into library, students have to submit their bags in a bag room at library’s entrance and get a receipt (token) for their bag.

Let’s get to the point, this time before leaving the library with my friend we got in the bags room, to take her bag back. There was no officer in the room as one used to be and she just carried her bag without returning any token. I asked, don’t we have token system now? She replied, “Nope, our university administration is now working on developing culture instead of rules.”

I like that approach. Changing the focus from whether the students should be trained to follow the rules, developing university culture is 1000 times better.

Same things applies in business places too. Henry Stewart, who is founder and CEO of Happy Ltd, writes in his new book Happy Manifesto, “In many organizations response to something wrong is to create a new rule. Over the time they end up with more rules than anybody can possibly remember, many of which are no longer relevant. We at Happy, talk about having system (culture) rather than rules.”

His company was being rated the best company in UK for customer service (by Management Today) and the 2nd best place to work in the country (Financial Times).

Culture is about everything you do. Do you people try to develop a friendly culture in your organization? What are the benefits of not having rules but culture? Let’s talk more in comments.

About Waqas Ali

Waqas is a blogger and entrepreneur from Pakistan. He is the founder of Markhor, a startup which sells handmade leather goods around the world. He can be reached via  email, , and Facebook
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8 Responses to Developing Culture not Rules

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Developing Culture not Rules | Social is Better --

  2. Saania says:

    What is the difference between a culture and a rule? Don’t rules (when followed) become a culture over time !

    • Waqas Ali says:

      Hi Saania, rules are the kind of authority over people in a certain area. They are always created to keep things in perspective. Imposing it on the members of community / area.

      While culture and especially corporate culture means to be something natural and developing good habits, you don’t impose anything but create such an environment that people start doing what is in us naturally and believe me, naturally every human has created to be Awesome. 😉

      Following rules doesn’t encourage someone to do nice naturally.

      Thanks for the visit & question.

  3. Wonderful post Waqas!
    Spot on, creating culture and leading by example is far more powerful and human like than rules and restrictions.
    It takes time to create a culture, but every journey starts with 1st step.
    I believe you guys in Pakistan are on very good way and I believe to visit you soon!

    • Waqas Ali says:

      Yes Ivana it’s time to humanize the businesses in all over the world. You’re more than welcome to visit us, I’ll show you the developing culture which I & other friends of mine are striving for. 😉

  4. Nice Waqas, I really like the way you put the stuff. Initially I was thinking perhaps you are going to criticize this, but later on you talked about the developing of culture. Which is a nice thing to adopt. It is not going to happen soon, it will take time. Its nice, we can talk more on it when we’ll meet lively.

    • Waqas Ali says:

      Awais you are right that it takes time to develope the culture but yes it’s worth doing.

      Yes, I’ll catch you soon for mutual learning about developing a culture. Thanks for the visit.

  5. sharmeen says:

    Great post
    you are absolutely right about developing culture is better than developing rules because for human nature it is easy to follow a culture than restrictions and rules.

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