If it were to be so easy

Gary Hamel in the Harvard Business Review writes today that bureaucracy in organizations must die. He says: Make no mistake: control is important, as is alignment, discipline and accountability—but freedom is equally important. If an organization is going to outrun the future, individuals need the freedom to bend the rules, take risks, go around channels, launch experiments, and pursue their passions.

Oh boy, could I agree with him more. Innovation is lost when managers at the top are unwilling to realize the benefits of a change, because change is indeed riskier than maintaining the status quo (in their view). Putting aside the employer though, let’s focus on employees. To follow what Gary suggests, I think it is paramount individuals have certain traits and should ask themselves the following three questions:

  1. It’s great to be passionate, but do you really know what exactly you are passionate about? There are “kids” who still don’t know at 40. Sometimes, directions are good. There is a reason schools and organizations are structured the way they are. If you don’t have a vision, proven track record of success, quantified your accomplishments, and demonstrated with exact examples why your passion is something worth your boss’s time to let you free, sorry buddy, you are not the next Mark Zuckerberg.
  2. Are you strained by monetary, parental, societal, “immigrational” or any other boundaries you unfortunately need to be tethered to, limiting your risk tolerance?
  3. Sans having been led, are you confident you can be a great leader yourself? In essence you might be leading yourself, but do you have that discipline in you?

Don’t forget to look inside-out while focusing outside-in.


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"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves " - Carl Jung