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  • Mark Shaw

Is it too hard to do your job?

Many people I speak to complain about how the amount of rules and regulations make it very difficult for them to actually ‘do their job’.

For example teachers wanting to take children across the road to play in the local park have to complete a risk assessment first.

Getting through airport security before boarding a plane is another classic example.

In my view a key reason is the significant increase in legislation and regulation that are intended to help improve the safety of everyone.

Unfortunately the result is often The 2% Effect. I.e. such rules are designed for a small number of people who don’t follow the rules anyway and the effect is the vast majority of people find it harder just to do their jobs.

Last week international author and futurist, Andrew Griffiths discussed future jobs and identified the role of “Simplicity Expert”. Ted Mouradian referred to something similar in a recent blog (

In my experience there is a solution to overcome The 2% Effect. I have been successfully applying it for many years and while it’s probably not the only solution, the evidence says it works.

I start with a better way to manage the 2%-ers; i.e. those small number of people who don’t follow the rules.

I recommend managing the 2%-ers by focusing on the management problems their behaviour causes. E.g. if someone displays a behaviour of being habitually late, stop blaming the employee for being late and start focusing on the management problem that occurs when the 2%-er is habitually late. The result is a laser-like focus on solving a specific management problem without introducing more rules and regulations that will impact on the remainder of your employees who are not causing problems.

When 2%-ers start to be effectively managed, I look at simplifying the policies, systems and processes for the remainder who are actually doing, or trying to do, the right thing. It’s actually not hard to find ways to relax the rules and regulations so employees can focus on the value-adding aspect of their jobs.

In summary, ask yourself, “how many of your employees actually do their job, meet the company’s values and abide by the code of conduct”? If your answer is “the vast majority”, then why do we need lots of detailed policies and procedures? I’d suggest its just for the 2%-ers.

Let’s take Andrew and Ted’s advice and seek simplified ways to let the good people get on with their jobs while more effectively and successfully managing the 2%-ers.

Let’s overcome The 2% Effect.

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