I talk all the time about how important it is to create simple, logical work systems that are so well-designed that only a fool would fight against using them. In that approach, you are making a process that is self-healing and doesn’t require a lot of babysitting by the champion for the reliability program. People JUST USE THE SYSTEM, defend it and continuously improve it, because it makes their life easier!

The second corollary to that method is to ruthlessly seek out and KILL any system that doesn’t meet the conditions above. Have NO mercy on weak systems that don’t add value. Simplify as far as possible, always.

So, with these two things in mind, you might ask about the risk of running things with TOO FEW rules and the implications of it to your business. I used to ask that all the time, being a natural “rule person”. But, I noticed over many years of working in facilities all over the world that the organizations with the best systems and the fewest rigid “rules for the sake of rules” performed better and had happier people. They responded well to change, they adapted to new challenges and readily adopted new systems when it made sense. In an almost magical way, they got things done and often had an amazingly strong ability to manage contingencies that were FAR superior to the rule addicted organizations. Why? Let me share what I have found.

A few years ago, I ran across a book called Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. This excellent book described exactly what I was seeing in the real world with an uncanny level of accuracy. Maintenance teams that were set up with clean, simple systems that were built to achieve specific reliability results with NO RIGIDITY ANYWHERE ELSE were durable, resilient and ever-improving. The intentional lack of order where it was not necessary created an environment where the team was empowered to identify new problems, attack them using the simple systems they built and work together to make changes. Changes that LASTED and enhanced the process every time! Happy people, empowered to make decisions, unencumbered by stupid, rigid rules are unstoppable. If you have ever worked in a place like this, the feeling is like no other. YOU can build this kind of organization! We at Failure Prevention Associates utilize this approach in our SystemRxM Process Optimization Program https://courses.failureprevention.com/. Please contact us for more details.

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