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Why you should write down your company’s unwritten rulesND

Karen Niovitch Davis, Harvard Business Review, Tuesday 8th October 2019

Unwritten rules are ingrained in the corporate world, but if they’re not regularly revisited to ensure continuing alignment with the organisation’s goals, they can turn from a positive force to a destructive one. Elon Musk for years inspired his employees and shareholders with his charisma and bold vision in his quest for dominance with Tesla and SpaceX. However, sometimes the CEO’s actions brought unwelcomed attention. After several questionable public decisions such as tweeting about a private takeover of Tesla and his infamous podcast with Joe Rogan, NASA - which now works with SpaceX - ordered a workplace culture and safety review of the company. All these actions signal to employees what kind of leader they’re following and what kind of company they’re working for. Here’s how leaders can assess unstated rules, behaviours and expectations to improve their organisation: write out the unwritten rules, challenge your accepted norms and overcommunicate when the goalposts move.

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