The Rule to Guide All Rules – Week 1

As a norm we curate and extract from other published articles for Friday Focus. However, this time around, we’ve got a few of our own thoughts extracted from our blog. This is the first of many to come and will explore Frontier’s way of doing things.

For many, maintaining law and order requires the existence of stringent rules. But do we really need that many of them?

Here’s why we think rules aren’t mandatory. 


Rules are generally accepted as a necessary evil, created to maintain order in the chaotic world we live in. This applies to the workplace, as much as anywhere else. However, in a workplace, these rules don’t always need to be written into a book that every employee simply must refer. At Frontier we don’t believe in setting up a rule book for two main reasons;

  1. You don’t need policies for everything. For example: at Netflix, a company whose culture deck gave us a lot of ideas says “there is also no clothing policy at Netflix, but no one comes to work naked”. Many rules are generally known and accepted; they don’t need re-stating.
  2. Simply because someone made a mistake years ago doesn’t mean we need a policy.We don’t penalize the many for the mistakes of the few.

Thus, we can reduce the number of rules to be published in an employee manual to the “golden rule” or the 3-word policy of Use Good Judgement. This can be considered the “rule to guide all rules”. It is expected that people working at Frontier would use their common sense and good judgement rather than having to refer to a list of rules every now and then.

In the event that someone does make some bad judgement, our response will depend on whether that mistake is “mission critical” or not;

  • If it is a mission critical issue or likely that many others might make the same mistake: We will talk about it so everyone understands and it could go into a process book (a small guide we use to support decision making in complex situations)to avoid any future confusion over the matter.
  • If not:

o   At times we will let it slide (to see if it repeats, in order to assess if it is bad judgement or carelessness)

o   At times it will be dealt with quickly, mostly individually.

Broadly, making “bad judgements” impacts perceptions towards one’s judgment/maturity. This is symmetric to Frontier’s relationships with its clients. What our CEO, Amal Sanderatne, says and does matters, in the context of how clients perceive Frontier. This is implicit in all firms; even those with big rule books still rely on judgment. It’s about demonstrating maturity and professionalism.


Not every action requires a rule to supervise. Next week we’ll show you how we judge conduct at work.

For more on the Frontier way, visit our blog.

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