The Unwritten Rules of the Game

Master them, shatter them, and break through the barriers

The Unwritten Rules of the Game

What drives day-to-day behaviour in an organization? The author proposes that the "silent engines" are not official policies but "unwritten" rules and that deciphering those rules is a vital step in managing change because the process reveals why people are simply unwilling to alter their behaviour. The text shows how to break free through the barriers to change. "New Yorker"-style cartoons emphasize major points.

Table of content

PART 1: How to Fail in a Major Way

  • Shortcut to a Coronary
  • Bet the Company-and Lose
  • Macho Lemming Syndrome
  • Jack the Ripper Hits New Wave
  • Flight of the Culture Vultures

PART 2: The Secret Everyone Knows

  • Rule of the Rutes
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  • Decoding Success as Well as Failure
  • The Needie, the Haystack, and the Magnet
  • Smoke and Mirrors
  • Managing Through Empathy

PART 3: The Voyeurs' Guide to the Real World

  • Nine Windows onto Reality
  • From Rebellion to Anarchy
  • From Camouflage to Gridlock
  • From Paranoia to Panic
  • From Isolation to Impotence
  • From Power Play to Civil War
  • From Conspiracy to Treachery
  • From Lipservice to Cynicism
  • From Subversion to Torture
  • From Sabotage to Suicide

PART 4: The Road to Pragmatism

  • Don't Push Me!
  • Swinging Aside the Barriers
  • Just Lie Back on the Couch ...


  • Rulebusting
  • User's guide to trauma
  • Life after change
  • Easy approaches to holism
  • Better business made simple
  • U make my day
  • Shots (big)
  • Trigger happy

PART 6: Action Adventures

  • Back to the Future
  • Star Wars
  • The Untouchables
  • Kustomer Versus Kustomer
  • Leave and Let Die
  • A Depot Too Far
  • Robocop
  • Honey, I Downsized the Business

PART 7: Twentieth-Century Flops

  • Silence of the Lambs
  • The Great Change Robbery
  • She Who Dares Loses
  • Predator
  • Deathwish

PART 8: Breaking Free

  • Rebelling Against Conventional Wisdom
  • The Rules Are Dead—Long Live the Rules!
  • Mastering the Unwritten Rules of the Game
  • Flying the Flag
  • The Beat of a Different Drum
  • Riding the Crest of the New Wave
  • Sparking the Revolution

The RULEBUSTER'S Guide to Understanding Unwritten Rules

Guide to the Guide

PART A: Gateway to Another Dimension

  • Shut Up and Listen
  • Nervous. Irritated. or Machiavellian?
  • All Good Things Come to an End

PART B: Voyage into the Unknown

  • Preparing to Open Pandora's Box
  • Pain Is the First Step to Enlightenment
  • Lost at Sea
  • Starting to See Something

PART C: Writing the Wrongs

  • Filing Up Flip Charts
  • Making Good Connections
  • Leading the Witness
  • Putting the Rabbit from the Hat
  • Climbing into the Driver's Seat

PART D: Analysis of an Alien World

  • The Ghee Legacy
  • Tell Me About It
  • A Quick Look
  • Qualifying Quotable Quotes



Peter Scott-Morgan