In order to codify a certain set of actions, in order to achieve a certain result, one may develop a routine. At first this routine is a discipline that ensures that result. But then later, the routine may actually substitute as an illusion for the result.
For example, the manager may set up a series of meetings in order to make certain that he is spending regular, fruitful time with his direct reports. In the beginning, this discipline helps achieve a consistent result.
But later, these meetings become stilted…artificial. They give the manager a false sense of security. He feels like he is truly spending quality time with his direct reports, when in fact, he is tiring his direct reports with what seems like a necessary drudgery.
Somehow the routine itself has obscured the problem.
One must be careful, then, of the false sense of security fostered by routine. I am not against routines; I value them. Nevertheless, I must look beneath the routine and make certain that the original intention is being preserved.