4. Policies: Your Company Can't Fix New Problems With Antiquated Solutions

Jeff Stephenson

Co-Owner and Subject Matter Expert/RPSolved - AdvisoryCloudTM

New approaches require major investments of time, attention and cash, so management must seek a stable model (a plan) before committing these resources. Furthermore, plans attract the funds, effort and attention required to try a new approach. The plan must be complex enough to encompass a multifaceted reality, fluid enough to adapt as circumstances change, and loosely enough to be discarded when proven wrong. Regardless of the plan, no organization can function without standardization. Hence, your company must finalize their management system framework and roll it out responsibly.

The phase of “speculation versus denial” begins when management bypasses a theory’s clarifying strengths to search out its weak spots. Once the weak spots are known then leaders must explain why they exist. This process requires the intellectual courage to break from the “this is the way your company have always handled things” mentality that forms most of your company leadership responses. Unfortunately, what I have learned is that when chinks in the armor arise, management tend tweak the old solution just enough to fit and apply it to the problem to stop the bleeding. However, the wound still exists with the next blow reopening the wound.

It is impractical to act decisively in a situation filled with uncertainty so adding up both sides of the argument often result in a draw, indecision, and inaction. Hence, anything worth doing requires people to act as if their plan is right, know it is wrong and retain the ability to function. Even the best plan is subject to revision or rejection in light of new information but the contradiction of the plan demands a delicate balance between commitment and revision, stability and flexibility. Striking a balance is difficult, but possible.

One can only assume that yesterday’s problems were solved and measures put into place to prevent reoccurrence so the problems of today are new ones. Hence, today’s problems require new solutions. Defaulting to the tried and true ways and means of the past does not work because the problems are not human with human compassion and do not care about culture, inconvenience or ignorance when they hit your company in the face. your company must know the nature and limitations of their knowledge and do the necessary to fill in the gaps.


  1. Assess and then mothball ALL your company dogma and rigidity built over 40yrs that is found to be unsuitable for today’s environment. Replace with what will work in today’s world.
  2. Standardize your company processes with industry proven management system frameworks.
  3. Train new personnel on any retained legacy “ways and means” and
  4. Expend every effort to help the old dogs master and accept the new tricks but if that fails then you may have no choice but to replace them with new dogs.