This is one of those lovely phrases that can be liberating or frustrating, depending on what side of the argument you’re on. If they’re your rules, it’s clearly frustrating. If you’re trying to break them, it’s liberating challenging the status quo.
Often rules were just common sense practises for specific situations that were later codified for ease of reference. However, it’s the ‘common sense in specific situations’ part that is really key here. Management rules for one company, although perfectly suited to that company, may be totally inappropriate for another. Production processes for one industry could be ill-suited for another.
We think we are more in control when we have a rule book, when everything is nicely documented with crossed t’s and dotted i’s. But the world and its eccentricities can’t be clearly defined in a rule book or Standard Operating Guidelines.
Sometimes you’ve got to close the book and maybe even throw it away. Instead, take a fresh look at what’s going on around you and simply apply some good old common sense to the situation.