Importance of enforcing rules

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A major lesson I learned this year- the importance of enforcing rules and policies you set.

When our trailblazer came and visited us, he kept mentioning suggestions on how to do things better. He would say something like, “you should really have the guys lock their trailers at night” or “they shouldn’t be stopping for breakfast on the job” or “the guys should really be wearing their uniform”.

For many suggestions like these, we would respond that oh we tell them to do that, but they don’t do that. Or yes, that is our policy but we don’t enforce it.

If you don’t enforce rules you are walked over. There is no point in having a rule if you never enforce it. Yes- enforcement definitely takes more energy and reinforces your role as the boss and who pays them. It can feel uncomfortable and who likes to reprimand someone? But the problem with this is that if you don’t, no one follows the rules. And what we learned the hard way, is that it is much harder to enforce rules when you haven’t been enforcing them all along. The guys are used to being able to take a mile of rope from you so when first tell them oh no you can only have an inch they don’t like that.

We used to have no set start time- the crews could head out whenever they wanted to. This was a fine model for some crews, as they would head out early and still finish the day. However, for the bad crews, they would start late and then they wouldn’t finish their schedules.  When we told everyone our start time was now 7am, it created a lot of resistance and people were showing up late all the time.

I must say, now that we are more strict about EVERYTHING and always reprimanding people when they break the rules, they start to realize that you mean business. In the past where they might have been like “oh I’m not going to lock the trailer even though Justin asked me to because he won’t enforce it” they now think ugh I don’t want to hear Justin’s shit about the trailer lets just go back and lock it.

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