I’ve always believed in empowerment and giving my staff plenty of room for maneouvre. In my experience you invariably get the best out of people by giving them clear goals and parameters, the tools to do the job, the right environment in which to do it, and then allowing them relative freedom of movement. A couple of things have reminded me recently of the power of this approach.
"The biggest challenge facing organisations is not so much coercing
people into being more innovative as getting themselves out of the way
when people try to innovate. Innovation almost always comes out of frustration with the status
quo and is almost inevitably disruptive. If you don’t let people find
fault with how you do things currently or begin to disrupt your perfect
systems then you are unlikely to experience innovation."
The second is from a study done by The Mind Lab which compared two very different office environments – one a ‘battery’ office with cubicles and slower
computers, the other a ‘free range’ office with open spaces, laptops
and mobile comms devices. Unsurprisingly, workers in the ‘free range’ environment were 50% less stressed, but their IQ also rose by 28% and short-term memory by 33%. I wonder what it would’ve risen by had they also been making use of basic Enterprise 2.0 social software tools like Wikis, RSS, Blogs, and collaborative planning and bookmarking…?
In fact for more radical thinking on the whole concept of ‘management’, you could do worse than try Gary Hamel’s new book ‘The Future of Management‘. Gary believes that the most important form of innovation a company can have is ‘management innovation’ – entire new ways of organising and orienting to encourage lasting change driven by your people:
"In their experience, management progess is accretive rather than revolutionary – and they have little reason to believe it could ever be otherwise. But it can be otherwise, and it must be – the future demands it."
(Image: The Perkin poultry, Jasmine and Ariel. Tinkerbell is disappearing stage left. The Disney Princess theme came from my daughter I hasten to add)