Friday, June 3, 2011

You can't change the rules in the middle of the game

You cannot change the rules midstream. Imagine playing a professional baseball game and midway through a game someone decides to change the rules.

What would happen?

Only one person may know of the change so how do the rest of the players and umpires know that the game has changed. How would they know that there are now 4 strikes?

He would be calling players out at strike 3 when in fact that is no longer the rule.

Perhaps a player now has to touch his toes when he reaches home base in order for the run to count. What would happen if this new rule takes effect while the runner is standing on second base?

I can see it now. The runner would go when the hitter hits the ball. The second base runner goes home and forgets to touch his head. The next thing you know the catcher tags the runner with the ball and the umpire calls the player out. No run batted in for this guy.

Where am I going with this analogy?

It’s simple. You cannot change the rules midstream without communicating those changes to all the parties involved.

If you can’t change the rules in the middle of a baseball game then why should you do it at work?

This happens to me every day at work. Someone (another organization) decides they have a new process that is to be followed in order to hand something off and have them do some work. While this may seem reasonable and positive for the organization, making this change affects more than just them.

Same thing applies when you change a rule in baseball. You change the rule and the players are affected, the umpires, and even the fan are affected. This change can be time consuming and costly, not to mention, could cost the game for a team, or the loss of fans.

What seems like a small process change can truly cost an organization a fortune. So while you think something affects only you, try to think outside of yourself and look at who will truly be affected. And if the rule truly does need to change then be sure to communicate it to ALL the parties that have a stake in the game.


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