Policy creation in organisations has a schizophrenic aspect to it. The part most of us see and know is the dry, soil cracking dry, words on a page. Tables sometimes appear on the page as an attempt to spice it up. Policies are boring. Often each word is carefully chosen, legally approved. Most of us don’t read them or use them as a sleeping aid.
And yet, policy creation, or at least good policy creation, has at least two other radically different personalities. First, we have the loud, debating, arguing, fist pounding passionate personality which gives the content for the policy. These are the reformers, the ‘this is not good enough’ type of personality. These are the ones who want standards, consistency, and want to improve the status quo. This rage, love, passion, desire gets thrown into a room and the walls can barely contain it, but after a while calm sets in. Sometimes the calm comes when the legal writers enter the room. They are somewhat like dementors sucking the emotion out of these personalities and writing the dry, superdry, policy that goes to the board.
And then there are the other personalities. The creatives. The storytellers. These are the ones who use 10 words when 1 would do fine. These are the incredibles. The resuscitators. The ones who take the dry policies and bring them back to life. They make the policies real, relevant, and, dare I say, exciting. They are the ones who help us see and understand why and how the dry policy has relevance to my day to day work.
And the resuscitators are the least thought of. Most organisations stop at the dementor stage. Dry policy written and approved. Check. Then they put it on the shelf expecting everyone to know and read it. And are surprised when no one does.
Policy creation doesn’t end when it is approved by the board. In fact, that is when it begins. Without the storytellers continually telling stories, resuscitating the passion that originally brought the policy into being, all the effort and desire will be lost.
The choice is up to us.