“Rules are Rules!”; “I don’t care what your excuse is, the rules are there for a reason.”; “No exceptions.”; Worse yet, “Because I said so!” Have you ever found yourself uttering these words, or something similar?
From time to time it may happen. Employees try to rationalize or justify their deviance from one of our organizations’ rules or policies. Compliance is there to stop them. Is that our job? Are we cops?, Internal Affairs? While we may be responsible for ensuring that our organizations have rules and policies in place to govern conduct and prevent violations of law, we also need to be human beings; our employees are.
I was saddened to read a news story last week about an airline employee who followed the rules; possibly leading to a disastrous conclusion. Whether the enforcement of a rule led to the death of a passenger’s husband or not, of course, is arguable. But the passenger will always be haunted by the experience, and will probably always wonder, or worse yet blame herself. Last month a passenger on a commercial airliner was flying home from a vacation. As required by FAA regulations, the flight attendants informed the passengers when it was time to either shut off, or turn to ‘airplane mode’ all small electronics, i.e. cell phones. This is standard practice; and it’s the rule, by God. We have all seen non-compliant passengers, like the off-duty pilot in the photo, texting while the plane we were on, yes we (I was sitting behind him), taxied to the runway for takeoff. Now whether you believe there is scientific evidence that using a cell phone during such times is dangerous or not is not the point. There is a rule; and we, as compliance professionals, believe that our duty is to make sure those rules are enforced.
Back to the lady. As the crew on her flight was doing its cabin check prior to take off, and after telling passengers to turn off their cell phones, or put them into airplane mode, the lady received a text from her husband. He was apologizing for what he was about to do. He was about to commit suicide. The lady, desperate to communicate with him, texted ‘no’ and tried to call him. The flight attendants, citing FAA rules, stopped her. The lady begged but it was no use. She spent the entire two hour flight sobbing. As soon as she landed, she called the police. It was too late. Her husband had killed himself.
When I conduct training at my organization, I blast rationalizations and justifications pretty hard. I don’t believe in “Everybody does it,” “nobody will care,” or “no harm no foul.” Rules are rules, right? But we’re human too.
[bctt tweet=”Rules are rules, right? But we’re human too. @SCCE” via=”no”]