Daniel got tossed into the Lion’s Den for praying. He broke a rule. A rule that was put in place by the other administrators in the Kingdom at the time.
It wasn’t that simple or cut and dry. Daniel had distinguished himself so much that the King was going to appoint him over the entire Kingdom.
Instead of planning a party to celebrate Daniel and his upcoming promotion, they created a law that said anyone who prayed to another human or God other than the King would be killed.
Daniel kept praying, and The King tried to save Daniel, but the administrators persisted, reminding the King of the law. Daniel was tossed in the Lion’s Den and survived. When he got out, the King realized that the charges were false, and he had the administrators and their families tossed into the Lion’s Den and killed.
This is the story I heard as a child in bible school, and maybe you did too. As an adult, I see this story differently. I see it as a story about rules, power, and the lengths people will punish those who set themselves apart by hard work.
Rules and Policies should be created to advance the mission of organizations. Still, rules are often created to punish people and to advance the hidden causes of others. I will not take the time to identify those who are doing it, but if you are a leader, you need to be aware that it exists, and you shouldn’t be the one enforcing them.
King Darius chose a rule over his best employee. A person he was going to appoint over the entire Kingdom because of his work performance. He threw him into the Lion’s Den.
Motives are messy. In a data-driven world, the high priests demand qualitative and quantitive data to prove that individuals’ motives over time are difficult to boil down to a slide deck with ROI clearly demonstrated.
But relationships and performance matter. The next time you have to create a rule or a policy, examine your own motives. Why this rule and Why this policy?