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Rules are Meant to be Broken

This is part four of a four-part series on Predictive Index (PI) drives.


Let’s keep this short.  Rules are meant to be broken.  If the previous sentence makes you smile, I expect we may have a thing or two in common.  If that statement gets your goat, and you naturally accept and adopt rules with ease, you likely have a greater than average drive to conform to rules and structure.  In Predictive Index, this drive is known as Formality.


To individuals with a high Formality drive, rules are important and it’s important to those individuals to follow the rules. Even if the rules deteriorate performance, choke results, and limit success, following the rules is more important than performance. Following the rules is also more important than the fact that the rule was established for a reason, such as to keep individuals safe. Safety, for the person with a high Formality drive, is not necessarily the most important outcome; following the rule is. In other words, rules hold the value rather than the positive or negative effects that result from following the rules.


People with a low Formality drive value rules to a lesser degree and might choose to view rules as suggestions. Individuals with a low degree of Formality might prefer outcomes, such as individual, group or organizational success, as more important than following rules. In this case, individuals with a low degree of Formality might be confident breaking the rules, if they anticipated the end results would be more positive.


Neither approach is right nor wrong. Self-aware individuals contemplate both ends of the spectrum and thoughtfully select the best path forward, whether that means adhering to the rules or not.


If you are a maverick, pause and think.  Recruit your trusted ‘analytical’ colleagues to evaluate and critique your top-down approach.  If you are a guardian, pause and relax.  Map an alternate approach despite your confidence in the one-and-only best path forward. Call upon your trusted ‘out of the box’ colleagues to brainstorm alternatives with you.


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