I know that this isn’t new, but I had never heard it until sitting in church recently. I’ve seen it attributed to Andy Stanley and to Josh McDowell. Regardless, it is a powerful statement.
Rules without Relationship lead to Rebellion.
Think about the implications for leaders, managers, parents, spouses, or anyone trying to enforce through rules.
Until you have relationship in place, there is no trust. Without trust, you have no buy-in, and rules seem to be limiting and constricting. Those subject to the rules spend all of their time trying to figure out how to bend the rules. And you, as enforcer, spend all of your energy trying to ensure compliance.
It’s not that hard really when you think about it. The hard part is bridging that relationship gap. That also takes time, energy, and commitment. Then, and only then, do you get the level of compliance that you expected when you first inked the rule.
But, that time, energy, and commitment is nothing compared to the time you’ll spend and the energy expended in enforcing a rule without relationship. You’ll also incur real costs. Think about the processes that you’ll have to build, the checkpoints and mechanisms that you’ll have to put in place, the reports to be created and reviewed, and the tweaking and refining you’ll have to do because of all the exceptions that need to be addressed.
How do you overcome this? It’s all about the time spent on the relationship. A real relationship begins to flourish when there is two-way dialog and a genuine care and concern for the other party. Instead of trying to figure out how you can benefit from the relationship, you begin to think about how the other party can benefit from the relationship. That’s when the servant’s heart takes hold and gaps are bridged.
Then, rules don’t matter. They begin to become transparent. The relationship becomes more important to everyone, and it overrides concerns about the rules.
I don’t have scientific proof of this but I’ll bet this holds true in most cases.
The stronger the relationship, the fewer rules are needed.
What relationship do you need to invest in today? What rule or set of rules are the most difficult for you to enforce (or adhere to)?