Losing the person among policy and procedure

Conscience is something that separates us from the animals. It gives us a sense of morality, and that morality can develop emotions such as empathy and compassion. When we act on these, we are enriched by our connections that create meaningful relationships, which gives meaning to our lives.

I live in Australia, which is a liberal democratic country. It is a secular capitalist society with a stable political system and a strong economy. Opportunity abounds and what I love about this country is that opportunity is not strictly for the elite. Anyone can have a fair go in business.

I myself am not from an affluent background, in fact quite the opposite. Having spent time as a teenager homeless, privilege was something I had none of. But this didn’t prevent me from acting on opportunity and with hard work and dedication, I was able to carve out a healthy career for myself.

Having just celebrated 18 years in business, these early struggles have helped keep me acutely appreciative of the opportunities afforded to me. I value the act of supporting others and will always go above and beyond doing so. This is part of my role and an important one that brings me great satisfaction. Actually, it is part of my DNA as a human.

Now with success comes growth. With growth comes change. With change we can make improvements, but often needing to increase your team to facilitate it. To effectively manage we need organisation. Policies and procedures allow us to follow a structure that is aimed at reaching our outcomes. The more you grow, the greater the need to comply with these policies and procedures to sustain the system.

As we follow our industry code of conduct, ASIC/ACCC guidelines, rules and regulations, codes of ethics etc etc and try to meet our customer’s needs also, it’s easy to see where the need for policies and procedures come into play. How else do we keep the balance right? But in meeting all these requirements there is something that can often be neglected. The human side.

What we need to remember when we are up to our eyeballs in compliance, is that we are human. The corporation is a construct that is made up of people. And while it seems like corporations are driving the people, in truth it’s the other way around. If we lose sight of this, we get lost in the system. Artificial intelligence and robotics is already a burgeoning industry; leave the non-human traits there where it belongs.

Yes we must strive to do the best, but not at the cost of being human. Don’t allow protocol to supersede human connection. Reach out to others, assist them when you can and allow yourself to feel good about it. Because it’s those emotions like empathy and compassion that enrich us and make all this business worthwhile.

When we are so bogged down within the system, we risk losing our morality, our ability to have and show empathy and compassion and we stop supporting each other. This is when our humanity gets lost. We become less human and more robotic. Remember the purpose of all businesses are born out of the want or need to assist others. It’s my aim to keep that in our policies and procedures to keep our conscience alive and to harness our humanness to the best effect.