The Japanese call it SHU – HA – RI. Or “follow the rule”, “break the rule” and “be the rule”. What this wisdom actually wants to tell us is: stick to the rules until you are sure that you can make up your own rule at some point. So far, so good.
There is certainly a lot to this wisdom. It is easy to understand and it sounds plausible. For this reason, it has become a didactic blueprint in the innovation industry. A panacea for getting everyone up to speed as quickly as possible. In innovating and agilization and in new working. However, what started out in Scrum as a philosophy of ‘think different’ quickly became the Art of Earning Twice in Half the Time. The rules of Design Thinking, Lean Startups and Agile working have now been told a million times and in many cases even certified.
The only problem is that people always focus on the SHU. Because it is just so nice and simple (and the easiest way to make money). Explaining the rules to someone briefly and then leaving her alone does not make her a player. Knowing the rules simply is not playing the game.
What good is it if I know the rules of a game that nobody wants to play?
I will not become a good chess player if I learn the rules once. I will only become a good chess player if I play a lot, learn from others, and get opportunities to rethink and develop my strategy. Playing by the rules doesn’t get you where you want to be. This is not the fault of the game itself, but the fault of the players. I need to experiment, develop stamina, and change plans in order to develop excellence. If I don’t offer the set and setting for this, we will never get anywhere close the HA, let alone the RI.
We can keep explaining the “supposed” rules of the game of change to people for as long as we want. If no one bothers to think about what happens after the rules are explained, we can really save ourselves the effort (and the money). Someone who operates by memorized rules will never become a game changer. But maybe that’s exactly the goal. So that everything can stay the way it is.