One simple rule in an organisation can have a huge impact. A huge impact on thinking and behaviour.
To name some famous rules: any memo or proposal should fit on a single piece of paper, a project should not be longer than 6 months, any organisational unit should not be bigger than 4o people and when it grows bigger it should be split, any customer is welcomed with a smile, always, we promote solely from within, we trust your own judgement.
There are many examples of a rule that shape and guide an organisation. The rule is so dominant that it is the organisation. Such rules have some important common characteristics: they are very simple, they apply to a key organisational issue and they are applied rigorously.
The effective rule, the rule that seems so natural, the rule that shows its beauty in its effortless logic, is not so easy to come up with. The question is whether when the rule was conceived all beneficial effects of that were indeed identified (vis-a-vis the drawbacks and malicious side effects of such a binding rule). Probably not. The true effects were only experienced later.
But that uncertainty about the effects, did not stop the rule maker to introduce and maintain it. It seems that myopia and farsightedness are kept in a sound balance when it come to game setting rules.
Hausmann’s simple city planning rules for hight and profile of buildings shape Paris.