The interviewer wants to know how you go about achieving goals when you lack explicit instruction from your manager or company. Part of the point of this interview question is to find out where your moral compass lands when company rules are not clear. Give the interviewer an example of a time when you had to cope with very few guidelines.
"One of my earlier positions was for a family-run furniture company with very few guidelines or rules of engagement when it came to sales, service, and the common protocols. It was pure chaos, but I did my best by following what I intuitively felt was the best decision. I ended up being the top salesperson and promoted to manager."
"I worked for a small family-owned agency for a while. Most processes were not formally written down or included in my onboarding training. I made it my project to create "what-if" scenarios, get answers from the bosses, and compile a troubleshooting list to work from."
"As a manager, I understand the need for clear guidelines and expectations. In my current role, I created a playbook of sorts for my team to follow. I don't like to enforce rules explicitly; rather, I hope that my team will use their training, knowledge, and intuition to make the best decisions."
"Working in an online marketing start-up company, there were many situations where rules and guidelines were not clear. I took it upon myself to identify the need. My team and I needed direction. So, I drafted the rules and guidelines and came up with a system for others to contribute. Together, we created the internal structure that the company operates in today!"
"I've had a position where the company did have clear guidelines and procedures. However, the manager didn't follow that set of rules and instead implemented her own. This situation was not only odd but also tricky. To please my boss, I had to follow her rules but to move up in the company and please corporate; I had to follow theirs. Ultimately, I found an excellent middle ground that kept me productive, my boss happy with my sales and productivity, and was presumably pleasing to the store managers and corporate. I later moved to a different department into a leadership position. All that to say, I'm comfortable in awkward, figure-it-out situations, and can figure out a way to succeed and keep all parties happy, no matter what the parameters."
"In startups, hard set rules are difficult to find. You are to sell and hit your metrics, but it's 99% a figure-it-out-yourself situation. This situation can be an awesome opportunity to pilot out your ideas and tactics almost all of the time, as long as you're comfortable with trial and error and creative license. I have loved this opportunity to create my approach to my building my book of business. Yes, it can be frustrating when you feel lost, but I've always found that my ideas coupled with putting my head together with teammates and those that have been there longer than I will yield results and allows me to have fun while I'm at it!"
"During a transition period when we had no department chair, you could say guidelines were unclear. There was no one necessarily mandating that we hold our meetings, for instance. However, a few us knew that it was beneficial to us as teachers, and the department as a whole, to continue. We took turns leading the meetings and acting as though each of us was the supervisor for the following two weeks, passing the torch to the next teacher as she stepped in. This method allowed for us to continue growing and learning, collaborating, and also be ready to transition to the new official team lead seamlessly."
"One of my earlier positions was for a family run furniture company with very few guidelines or rules of engagement when it came to sales, service, and everyday protocol. It was pure chaos but I did my best by following what I intuitively felt was the best decision. I ended up being the lead of the delivery team within 3 months because they trusted that I had the company's best interest in mind."
"I am never one to break the rules out of rebellion but I have bent one or two for the greater good of the patient. One time I can recall is when I had a patient in postoperative care. We have a rule of no mobile phones. It happened that his wife had a medical emergency and so I allowed him to have his phone with him after surgery. It didn't cause any harm to him and he was very thankful for the empathy we showed for his situation."