Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Red tape


I finally read some of the AP thread about advice to Champs organizers. I'm sure people mean well and feel they are helping, but an AP thread is not likely to help organizers any more than the reader comments at the bottom of a news story give you insight into complex issues.

People - nearly all of us - have a tendency to perceive something as a problem and then jump to a rule as a solution. "I didn't bring my control description sheet to the start; there should be a rule - or a strong guideline - that organizers must provide description sheets at the start." That's how organizations create "red tape."

In the world I work in, there are a lot of ways of to figure out how to have more good things and fewer bad things happen. How OUSA can promote event quality is reasonably straightforward (though it would take some careful analysis of existing structures and some thought). I'd guess that the trickiest thing would be to balance standards with flexibility. As a general observation, people who get involved in developing rules and guidelines often undervalue flexibility and overvalue specific rules. It is easy to create "red tape." It isn't hard, but it is harder, to create "green tape."
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posted by Michael | 8:03 AM


Totally agree! Some general guidelines and trying to create the right culture and then leaving things up to common sense is often a good enough recipe. Tricky.. people like to have rules and have things black & white but you can tie yourself in knots that way! :-)
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