Policy : Please see ! or Police! See!

Policy : A course or principle of action adopted by a government, party, organisation, individual, etc
Principle : A personal code of conduct as the basis of planned actions

Over the years I have been involved with policy preparation at different levels – from local government – to provincial policy writing – to an involvement with policy writings for small NGO’s

But as important as any policy-writing is for organisations to function smoothly I have come to realise that it is equally important (perhaps even more so) that there should be some sort of ‘policy’ development at any level where people are spending time together (their ‘Rules of Engagement’), and in this regard I have watched and wondered as my two married children have subtly and cleverly worked out policies (read ‘rules to live by’) for both themselves and for their own offspring.

What am I (still) learning about policy that makes any policy effective ? Well going back to the two definitions of both ‘policy’ and ‘principle’ it seems to me that, in the first instance everybody who is to affected by policy should have a say in its formulation (thereby ensuring a recognition of the principles upon which the policy is being developed) so that the ‘rules of engagement’ should ultimately be recognised and accepted by everyone for whom the policy is intended.

Life coaches, marriage counsellors, in fact anyone with an interest in promoting the wellness of individuals in relationships seem to agree that ‘learning to listen, listening to learn’ is important if healthy relationships are to be developed and maintained. By no means easy but, once embarked upon, guaranteed to make everyone’s life a lot easier!

Christmas – A time to reflect on how we live our lives.

Christmas should be a time of jollifications and general merry-making. Right ? While for many families it is – but for many it is not. And if it’s not it may be a question of family policies. (Rules of engagement.) : Are there any ? Are they working ? And, most important, are they helpful to all concerned ?

For me successful policies (policies that benefit everyone) are those that are decided upon by chatting the issues through (the Please-see! policies). They will have the best chance of providing guidance for healthy relationships (in organisations or in families). They are written (or decided upon) to give guidance to all and to include opportunities for everyone to engage with the way in which the organisation (or family) functions.

On the other hand policies that have been written with little or no consultation (the Police! See! policies) are doomed to failure. They are top-down and have been written with little or no consultation with the family / community for whom they are intended. Whereas government policy can be accepted by most as being necessary for community life, policy that affects the daily lives of everyone in organisations and/or families should be worked out together so that each can listen to the other’s point of view and all can agree on the common good.

Much is being said in the media about ‘Top-down’ management (management by managers) vs ‘Bottoms-up’ management (management by the workers). For me both have got it wrong. It’s ‘co-operative’ management that will have the best potential for success. This works with corporate. It also works for families.

This article may appear to offer a simplistic solution to what is a very complex situation, (after all relationships are often seen as a minefield that many shy away from) but if it does nothing more than to encourage thoughts and actions around different codes of conduct that might affect inter-personal relationships (in families as well as organisations) then it will have achieved its aim.