Chapter and Verse

Here’s a quick hint for how to rapidly create a change you want within a bureaucracy.

Stop generically naming your problem (e.g., The reimbursement amounts for company travel need to change) and instead start quoting the chapter and verse (e.g.,  Table 5 of instruction 7852.4 says reimbursements shall be calculated based on the hotel rates in Atlanta.  We recommend the rates be based on New York instead).

After choosing to drive change instead of driving people, quoting chapter and verse is the second most powerful change concept in any rule-driven bureaucracy.

You get to chapter and verse by starting with a basic problem and asking “What rule prevents me from doing X?” or “What instruction tells you to do Y?” When they quote you something you immediately seek out that source and check their facts.  Did they cite the rule correctly?  Are they referencing an old version of the instruction and they don’t know the rule has already been changed?  You’d be surprised how many surprises you find when you actually check people’s sources.

Problem stay problems when they are hidden in vague language without reference to anything solid.

Nail down the chapter and verse.  Seek the modification you need to make it read the way you want.  And, see your change driven straight on to success.  It’s not always a straight road, but I bet it’s an awful lot faster than anything else you’ve been doing.

Why not try?

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