Nordstrom’s employee handbook used to be presented on a single 5 x 8 card:
Welcome to Nordstrom
We’re glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them. So our employee handbook is very simple.
We have only one rule: Use good judgment in all situations.
Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.
That is no longer the case, however, as they have become more like everyone else. Simple ideas like this only work within the right context. Taking such ideas and applying them to an organization that isn’t ready will backfire. But if you build a culture where trust, respect, customer service and responsibility are encouraged lots of rules just get in the way of people doing their best. If you can’t trust employees to do their jobs, the problem is with the system you have that results in that, not the people you can’t trust.
Related: Trust Employees to Do What is Right – Hire People You Can Trust to Do Their Job – We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen – Flaws in Understanding Psychology Lead to Flawed Management – Build an Environment Where Intrinsic Motivation Flourishes