Procedure is to do what has been decided as right.
Professionalism is to know when that would be the wrong decision.
So, this just happened:
“Where is your badge?”, the security guard checking all the people entering the big ballroom in Mumbai gave me a stern look.
“Sorry, I did not have time to get it, and I really want to listen to this speaker since I am the second keynote speaker,” I said.
“Sorry, you need a badge to enter.” I get in return from the guard.
Stopped by a security guard just doing his job and following procedure.
But then the other guard – let’s call him “Frank,” – steps in.
“Mr. Haren?”, he said.
I look at him in surprise.
Turns out that Frank had studied the conference program to learn the names and faces of all the speakers. He smiles and says: “It’s ok, Mr. Haren, I know who you are. Just go in and get the badge later.”
The first officer was following procedure.
The other officer was following his professionalism.
I started chatting with Frank, who turns out to be a former police officer. We had a good conversation around how procedure is a good way of keeping a minimal acceptable level. But to be truly professional, is to be able to know when to ignore procedure and improvise.
Remember: creativity is the exception to the procedure.
What procedure do you need to break?
As always, would love to hear your thoughts. Post them on LinkedIn: Procedure vs Creativity
Fredrik Haren, The Creativity Explorer
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