Exceptions to the Rule

November 30, 2023

The Power of Exceptions to the rule

Unveiling the Unspoken Truth: The Power of Exceptions to the Rule

It’s a common mantra in the realm of book publishing: replicate your success until the profits dry up. Your audience, hooked on your unique style and expertise, craves the familiar. Yet, what happens when the sequels, riding on the coattails of their predecessors, start to feel more like a repetitive echo rather than a refreshing voice?

As co-author of the acclaimed “Just Ask Leadership”, I, Gary Cohen, alongside Eric Vrooman, find ourselves at a crossroads pondering the exceptions to the rule. Our next venture in leadership literature beckons, yet the question looms: do we delve deeper into the well-trodden paths of “Just Ask Leadership”, or do we dare to stray and carve out a new trail? Do we go the main route or look at the exception to the rule?

The Exceptional Path: When Rules are Meant to be Broken

This brings us to a fascinating concept: exceptions to the rule. The exceptions aren’t just anomalies; they’re pivotal moments that challenge convention and provoke thought. In exploring this, we’re not just observing the exceptions; we’re contemplating authoring a narrative around them. But what constitutes a notable exception? More importantly, when is it justifiable to deviate from the norm?

Take, for instance, a recent TV drama that left me pondering. It portrayed a genetic specialist, a staunch pro-life advocate, facing a personal dilemma when her teenage daughter becomes pregnant. Here, the specialist’s personal conviction clashes with her maternal instinct, creating an exception to her own rule. This scenario, albeit fictional, mirrors real-life complexities where exceptions aren’t just choices but necessities.

The Classroom of Life: Learning from Exceptions to the Rule

Real-life stories often mirror these dramatic quandaries. My daughter, while writing a school paper on WWII, grappled with the moral ambiguity of war. Her initial stance – ‘War is bad’ – evolved as she considered scenarios where war might be a necessary evil. Similarly, rules at the workplace, like the stringent homework policies of my other daughter’s teacher, often come with a different set of rules for those who enforce them.

Reflecting on my own experiences with Rick Diamond, CEO of Breathe Laser, at ACI, I recall how we had different rules for expenses for employees and owners. This double standard taught us a valuable lesson about fairness and the importance of consistent rule application.

The Essence of Rules and Their Exceptions

But what do these exceptions signify? Do they indicate flaws in the rules or in those who follow them? When a mother urges her daughter to consider abortion, does it diminish respect or amplify it, showcasing a profound depth of love and concern?

These questions aren’t just philosophical musings; they’re essential to understanding the fabric of our values and beliefs. If exceptions to the rule are inevitable, what then, is the purpose of rules?

Your Voice Matters: Shaping the Next Chapter and Reflecting on Exception to the Rule

As we, Gary Cohen and Eric Vrooman, ponder over these intriguing questions, our next literary venture hangs in the balance. Is this exploration of exceptions a topic worthy of a book? We invite you, our readers, to share your thoughts and personal stories. Your insights are not just valuable; they are the very essence of what makes this journey into the world of exceptions so enriching.

Engage with Us: Share your unique experiences with rules and exceptions in your leadership journey. Let’s navigate this uncharted path together, understanding that sometimes, the most profound lessons come from the exceptions, not the rules. Go to linkedIn and post your thoughts.

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