A new state law allowed for the purchase of fireworks, while leaving it up to each city to determine whether or not to permit the use of the devices. Consequently, we had fireworks for sale at most every big box retailer and countless tents in other parking lots — selling rockets that could not legally be shot.

As you have already guessed, no one who bought the fireworks paid attention to the prohibition portion of the law. The police investigated 160 complaints — but did not issue citations for any of them. What kind of message does that send for amateur pyrotechnicians next year?

I would guess that there are rules in your family or your organization that are on the books, but not adhered to. Children are told that you are going to “count to three — or else,” yet parents fail to follow through on the threat. Teachers proclaim “late assignments will not be accepted,” but grade them anyway. Organizations say “no personal use of computers” but do nothing when employees check their social media feeds. Driving 5 mph over the speed limit is seen as within an acceptable range and not ticketed.

Think about where you stand on proclaiming a stand that you do not follow. How do others know which boundaries to honor and which are flexible? What gives your word integrity if you do not always mean what you say? Having no consequences seems more detrimental in the long run than having no rules.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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