Break Rules; But…With Responsibility

At the outset I would like to assert that when I especially say “Break Rules…but with RESPONSIBILITY”, I am fundamentally referring to the development of the attitude of purposefully ‘deviating’
22 Jul 2017 11:00
Break Rules; But…With Responsibility

At the outset I would like to assert that when I especially say “Break Rules…but with RESPONSIBILITY”, I am fundamentally referring to the development of the attitude of purposefully ‘deviating’ from the ‘beaten track’.

Thereby bringing Spontaneous Changes and Transformations in the way we execute our actions and ideas and all this with Positive Intentions towards helping your organisation accomplish its objectives and goals!

I clearly remember in the year 2001 September I had just started out to become a leadership trainer, and for a few months I had been working as an apprentice/ assistant to a very reputed and a highly experienced senior corporate trainer.

I would accompany him and watch him conduct the various seminars and trainings for different organizations and their employees on subjects related to Team Building, Innovation & Creativity, Communication Skills and Leadership Techniques.



After a few months of assisting him especially in organising and setting up his sessions as well as doing the FEEDBACKs at the end of his Trainings he called me one day to his office and gave me a pleasant surprise. “Dear Mayur, there is a training session on Communication skills for some of the employees of a medium sized Hardware Store and I would like ‘you’ to conduct it.

The session is of a One day duration. I know that it is going to be your first professional training that you will be conducting but I have complete confidence in your abilities and am quite sure that you will conduct it successfully.

But then there is something I want you to remember. While conducting the session please try not to deviate from the methodology of the training.

My methodology and approach is very effective and has been tried and tested for many years” Saying this he wished me the best and walked away for his lunch.



The training started as per the plan and everything was flowing smoothly till something strange happened.

I noticed one of the participants yawning continuously; and then I realized that he was not the only one.

There were some more seated at the back who doing the same thing.

I was following the methodology of doing the lecture first, then showing some Power-point Slides and then finally I would be playing a Role-play cum game of interactivity.

However what I began to notice is that many of the participants were beginning to lose their interest in what I was lecturing them about.

It was at the moment I decided to do something that was a complete deviation from the methodology which my senior trainer had created and been following for many years.

I quickly and yet subtly concluded my lecture half way and asked all of the participants to stand up.


Forming Groups

“Let us take a break from the lecture and do something different!” I exclaimed excitedly to them.

“Let us form groups and them I shall present certain topics related to the subject of the training.

You will have to discuss the topics within your own separate groups and make presentations subsequently!”

As soon as I told them this I saw almost all of the participants in a state of pleasant surprise. In fact they seemed extremely excited and exuberant.

Within a few minutes the groups were formed and the discussions had begun.

By lunchtime each group had presented their perspectives and theories regarding the topics and after lunch I decided to do the Role Play cum game Interactions.

It was only towards the end of my session that I shared certain Tips and Inputs related to the Development of Effective Communication and I did that with help of examples and not much of Theories!

I also did something that my Senior Trainer had never done! I decided to give them assignments but with a difference.

Rather than asking them to write their assignments I politely instructed them to make or create a Three- Minute Video of themselves while delivering their presentations and then send the video to me.

Upon hearing this all the participants started spontaneously clapping and a few of them said that the assignment was extremely exciting and yet very practical and beneficial for them.

I told them that I would analyse their video presentations and send them my feedback immediately.


Breaking the rules

The seminar ended but the next day as I reached office I felt as though there was a storm brewing in the office in connection to my training.

Some of the other co-trainers in the office seemed to have received information about what all had happened in my training and they seemed upset especially because I had broken the rules of the ‘Training Methodology’.

Within minutes of reaching my desk I was beckoned by my Senior Trainer to the conference room.

As I entered I saw him quite serious and intense and rather upset too! He requested me to sit and then called all my other colleagues and co-trainers in the conference room.

He stood up and began addressing me in a very firm tone, “Hey Mayur! I am told that you made some drastic and significant changes in your methodology while conducting the training yesterday?

Is this true and if it is true then I would like to know the reasons as to why you changed something that I had told you clearly not to! You surely have disobeyed my instructions”.

Saying all this he sat down and awaited my response.

I was sure about what I had done and the reasons for doing it.

I took a deep breath and began sharing each and everything about the training.

My senior trainer heard me with heightened attention.

He then took an elongated pause and then addressed me, but this time with a half-smile decorating his face.


Responsibility and accountability

He said, “I believe what you have done is, you have broken Rules; but you have broken them with utmost Responsibility and Accountability.

I have understood that while doing the training, at that moment you realized some changes had to be made and you courageously made them.

You took the risks of changing the methodologies but then those risks were Calculated Risks!

To be honest Mayur, I received a phone call early this morning from one of the coordinators of yesterday’s training session and she told me that the session has received the highest ‘Rating from the participants’ compared to all the training sessions done earlier.

I believe there is something for all of us to learn.

Following rules is very important, but at times, depending upon the situation we may have to make changes or transformations in the way we do things as long as we know that our intention is positive and for the betterment of our organization.

Breaking rules is about bringing Positive changes and not breaking any laws!!!” Saying this he suggested that we all go out for lunch to celebrate the stupendous success of the training!

Of course the treat would be mine!

Dear readers, through this real-life example of my own I only want to say one thing.

“At time if…the situation demands a change in the way things ought to be done, then please “Break Rules; but…with Responsibility”

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