My friend, Lynn, has the cutest daughter, Miss O. This precocious little child is not only adorable beyond words, she is smart as all get out. At three, she looked at her mom and said, "there are too many rules." Woof. Lynn is in trouble. But Miss O is right.
Life is filled with all kinds of rules. Some are really good rules, for instance stopping at red lights. Others are stupid. Like trying to sort out ITAR and EAR export control rules. Meh.
I think about rules at work. The only rules that are really set in stone are those government rules that when broken, make me go to jail. No one wants this, especially me. The rest of the rules really are suggestions and we try not to be so tied to them. Really, it's all about taking care of people and keeping me out of jail.
When you invoke a rule, think ... does it help or hinder your efforts and your customer's desired outcome? I try to sever the tether when possible and keep things moving.