Policy and Common Sense

“That’s our policy sir, I can’t give you access to that information”

“But I have the “information.” I’m giving you the information; line and verse.”

“Right but you are not the person who owns the account so I can not give any more information”

“But I have the information and the money to reconcile the issue associated with the information; right now. I’m trying to pay online and you’ve listed the account as “closed.” I’m trying to get it reconciled. Can you “re-open it” so I can pay? Here’s the balance and the account information.”

“No I’m sorry sir. There’s nothing I can do. I can’t give any more information about the account or balance.”

“BUT I HAVE THE ACCOUNT OPEN AND I AM READING YOU THE BALANCE! How about you make the change on the account website (flip the switch) so I can pay it right this second?”

“I’m sorry sir, that’s against our policy. The account timed out and so it has to be handled another way. I know you want to pay the account balance but I can’t facilitate that. Again, that’s our policy.”

“Ah. So then you don’t want your money. Legalities and bureaucracy is more important.”

Policy. People. Common Sense (or lack thereof)

Policy is good. It’s supposed to safeguard people and companies; create process; manage risk. Mitigate fraud. I get it. Create policy.

But policy can get in the way. It can be counter-productive.

If policy isn’t making sense; if it’s preventing the very thing you are trying to accomplish or facilitate; if it’s getting in the way of something good and productive, then policy needs to be modified. (Isn’t that why there are managers?)

The thing that is sometimes lost in the interaction is that we are working with people, not policy. We shouldn’t be a slave to policy. We should use it as a guide, an important reference, a sensible context, but not as a strict manifesto, unable to be modified regardless of the circumstance.

People, and “doing the right things,” are more important than policy. Remember that in situations that are on the edges or outside the boundaries.