I tend to be a rule-follower, for better or worse. It’s a common trait often attributed to first-born children, and it fits me pretty well.
However, in the past few years I’ve found that avoiding some rules can be very helpful.
At GreenMellen, we largely follow the EOS (“Entrepreneurial Operating System”) method of running our company. We find that about 80% of it works great for us, but we were struggling with some aspects of it — not everything seemed to work for us.
While in a strategy session with Jason Blumer a few years ago, we raised this point. His answer was remarkably simple, and pretty obvious in hindsight — “then don’t do those things”.
Ali and I were so focused on doing EOS “the right way”, that we let things get a little cloudy. Jason giving us permission to veer a bit away from the system was all we needed.
I saw a similar thing happen when I took the altMBA. Each writing prompt had fairly specific instructions on what you were supposed to do. For the most part, people followed that path. Some didn’t. All were great.
Reading a prompt might say “do x”, but when unpacking “x” it spurs a great idea you’ve been pondering about idea “y”. So write about “y” instead! The altMBA has no grades, no passing or failing — it’s just about getting better. If you wanted to turn a prompt sideways so you could get more out of it, you were encouraged to do so.
I’ll still continue to be a rule-follower by nature, but I’m trying to keep my eyes open so I don’t get stuck on a path where a venture to the side might make more sense.