If there is one thing that upsets me…
Really upsets me it is being controlled. Being told where I have to be, when I have to be there, what I need to do, which meeting I need to go to… I hate being controlled.
Of course it cuts both ways. If I am hell-bent on upsetting my team then a little micro management goes an awfully long way. And therein lies the dilemma, if I hate being controlled, then why do I feel the need to control my team? Why is it that sometimes I think they just need to be told?
Do we need to control?
What would happen if we relaxed a little? Could a complicated system work without multiple layers of control and governance? Maybe it could …
Do you need lights to control traffic?
When the traffic lights fail at the cross roads on your way into work does everything grind to a halt? No it doesn’t, the cars get to their destination, people still get to work; just as long as:
- We know where we are going
- We slow down a touch
- We show a little courtesy
Then the traffic flows.
But a cross roads is a simple scenario, how about something a little more complicated?
Do you need an agenda to control a meeting?
Can you run a conference without a formal agenda? Conventional wisdom says it is a must, otherwise the whole thing drifts aimlessly — you know how bad that is. But you can run a very successful meeting without an agenda. Try an open space meeting. It works beautifully just so long as:
- You are clear what the meeting is for
- People want to be there
- They expect it to work
Then you can have a truly innovative discussion.
Now, what about something really complicated?
Do you need a hierarchy to control a company?
This is the big league… Can you run a whole company without hierarchies and job titles? Do you to need command and control? The textile manufacturer W.L. Gore proves you don’t. Instead of a formal management structure they have:
- Shared values
- Joint ownership
- Deliberately small business units
Of course it’s not perfect, but their employees love it, and they always turn a profit.
So do we need control?
Which is why I find a little command and control is a whole lot easier — and to hell with the consequences.
There are no cheap tickets to mastery ~ Donella H. Meadows
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Image by Davide Simonetti