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The “must” zone

Some jobs carry stricter regulation than others. When you’re a doctor, you must adhere to hygiene standards. As a banker, you must comply with regulatory requirements. As a teacher, you must respect the examination guidelines.

And you do.

But I bet these boundaries are not the reason you chose to become a doctor, a banker, a teacher (or whatever it is in your case).

And yet, some organizations sooner or later cross the tipping point where they obsess over the boundaries to pivot into the “must” zone. The zone where it feels that the boundaries are the point. Where the whole policy is about what you “must do” and “shall not do”. About what “you’re obliged to do” and “forbidden to do”.

These companies have lost sight of why these boundaries exist: To avoid the common pitfalls. To help you focus on your job without having to think through every tiny aspect every. Single. Time.

When you embrace boundaries in that sense they can become a huge accelerator. It allows an organization to obsess over the reason people choose the job.

But when an organization has entered the “must” zone, the boundaries easily become the source of major frustration among the people who work in the organization.

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