Don't Go Out of Business

We have experienced being in businesses that depend on another business to exist. Many businesses currently flourishing on the Internet exist only because Google says they deserve a top spot on the search results. A change in Google's policy could break such businesses, who would have no recourse and no other immediate way to reach large audiences. The same thing is true for companies who place their bets on the creation of phone apps versus the internal policies of Apple. (As a matter of fact, a change in Apple policy in 2017 forced many businesses to close later that year.) The same is happening right now to businesses built upon mining and using Facebook data; the changes made by Facebook to its policies on data sharing were swift following interviews with a House and Senate committee about its practices. 

In a complex business such as an institution of Higher Education, we depend of each other's function the same way businesses vitally depend on each other. The difference is that instead of causing the closing of a business, internal restrictive policies cause deep inefficiencies in the functions of the college. Those inefficiencies can cause monetary, budgetary, cultural, or academic damage to the entire institution. 

So, what to do? Policies are indeed critical, but they must be designed with the global functions of the institution in mind. Here is a fictional example: College staff accessing the cashier window constantly park in reserved student parking in front of the building. To prevent this behave, an institution has two choices: a) Raise the fines imposed on staff parking illegally in front of the business office to $300.00 per infraction, b) create two 15-minute staff parking spots. Both of those policies will achieve your goal, but one supports your function, while the other blocks your function and damages your culture. 

Keep a watchful eye on every policy you put in place, and help your colleagues create an environment of permissive controls rather than restrictive barriers.