The unwritten rules are the rules

Pastor/coach Ron Edmondson says, “In an organization, what is passed down, maintained over the years, repeated the most — become part of a tradition.  This is the way people do things — the way decisions are made — the way people respond to leadership and potential.”

He is right! The unwritten rules are the rules.  It is what is right. It’s the DNA of the organization.

I’ve worked with enough churches to realize that some of the people don’t even know what the rules are. After all, they never have been written down, voted on or put in the minutes.  But the unwritten rules are the real rules. Indeed they are, and they are assumed by the majority of the people.

So how do you know the unwritten rules?

Well, realize that they exist in every organization for starters.  Then ask good questions of someone who has been there longer than you. Honestly though, you will mostly discover the unwritten rules when you approach any kind of change that goes against one of them.  You might get stung a little, or a lot, in the process, but experience will show you where you can push and where you can’t.  Many a new pastor has tried to build change in a vacuum, without proper collaboration, and he suddenly found himself about to be stoned.

Edmondson says, “Trust me in this. You may be a genius with creating new and exciting ideas, but first you must understand this principle. Learn the unwritten rules first.”

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