Unwritten rules and ways of doing things—both good and bad—are ingrained in the corporate world. Often, these norms become so enmeshed in company culture that leaders don’t even think about them.
However, as Harvard Business Review writes, if a company’s norms aren’t regularly revisited to ensure they align with the organization’s goals, and if leaders aren’t careful about how their behavior contributes to them, they can morph from a positive force to a destructive one.
Consider the executive team at Facebook, which never told employees to ignore security and privacy issues, but did create a work environment that many say prized growth above all. That norm helped Facebook become a multibillion-dollar success, but it also contributed to the company’s recent problems around how it protects user data.
By their nature, unwritten rules don’t exist anywhere but in people’s minds, so as a manager you should ask yourself what norms your employees are holding in their heads, and then get them on paper.
On top of writing these things down, leadership should sit down at least once a year and evaluate whether the unspoken norms reflect the expectations that leaders think they’ve set. Think about whether each norm helps the company achieve its goals. Read the full story.