I wasn’t there at the time, but I hope the conversation went something like this:
(There’s these two naked apes sitting up a banana tree, and one of them has eaten the last banana, and they’re looking across at another banana tree, which has got a bunch hanging).
“Dude, look over there – banana’s!”
“Yes, but we can’t get there – there’s nothing to swing on – and you know the rules. The Chief Naked Ape has a rule that no one goes down on the ground.”
“I know, but I’m hungry, and you just ate the last banana.”
“So. There’s rules for a reason – the process says we swing from tree to tree.”
“Yep, well, I’m going to get them – I’m not starving because of a stupid rule”.
“Dude – you are so going to be in trouble”.
“Don’t care – I’m already gone …”
(And whilst the naked ape is crawling on all fours, he hears a lion roar behind him, and in sheer terror, he stands upright, and runs across to the other banana tree. He waits for the lion to go, grabs the bunch and, back on all fours, hauls the banana’s back to the other naked ape).
“Dude!” says the naked ape, “What was that thing you did just now when you were not on all fours? What was that? I’ve never seen that before!”.
“I don’t know – I just did it – it seemed like it might be quicker.”
“But we’re naked apes – we don’t do that … whatever it was.”
“Well we do now – I’m going to call it … standing, walking, and running.”
“But what if the Chief Naked Ape hears about it – you’ll be in so much trouble”
“Well, then I’ll stand, walk … and run away.”
And the rest, as they say, is History.
200,000 years later, the descendants of that naked ape are standing, walking, running and even driving on a different planet – Earth Moon.
I use this analogy to raise the question – when is it OK to Break the Rules? And by that I mean when is it OK to not follow process?
If you always follow process, you never do something differently.
If you never do something differently, then you can never Innovate.
And if you never innovate, then you can almost certainly never Evolve.
So at some point, you have to ignore process, in order to Evolve.
Our shared history is full of examples.
Once upon a time, the Sun rotated around the Earth. If you sailed West of Spain, you would fall off the edge of the Earth. If Christopher Columbus had stayed within the present religion-and-state sponsored doctrine (policy and process), he would never have ‘discovered’ the existence of the America’s.
(Interestingly, by doing so he inadvertently commenced a chain of events that ultimately has lead to both Country/Western Music, and Donald Trump – be prepared for latency of outcome that you may not expect).
Instead, he observed the data points, both positive and negative, made the educated decision that staying within policy/process was no longer an option, and commenced a journey that would have long-lasting impacts well beyond his conceivable imagination.
Sometimes, you have to break the rules.
Just be prepared for outcomes that you may not expect, or see coming.