Truly Powerful People (294)

Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

This morning I read an article that Joe sent my way- it was in the Harvard Business Review and is about a large $700 million company, Morning Star, that runs without managers. I cheered! The employees are self-directed and self-regulated and the company is prosperous and efficient by any standard. Not only that, but the people that comprise the company are happy.

It might be hard to imagine in our culture of control but, given the opportunity, most people will chose responsibility and the freedom that comes with it over compliance and the drudgery that comes with that; no one wants to be told what to do, especially when they know what needs to be done. Everyone will do their best work if they know why they are doing the work and have some say in defining what their best work is. Everyone will excel when they are part of a team and know that they matter and their work matters to the team.

It is an old world notion that time = money; it is a new world reality that relationship = money (efficiency is a quality of relationship, not a aspect of good management). Productivity is maximized when the producers are invested in the quality of their work – and that is a team sport as much as an individual investment. Bureaucracies are breaking down because the world of work has changed. Hierarchies are antiquated in the age of inter-connectivity. It is the same challenge that our schools are experiencing with a slightly different face.

It is an odd assumption that people need managing, and that managers need managing, ad infinitum. People do not need to be forced to work when they are in pursuit of mastery.

It is a sad assumption that empowerment necessarily comes from the top down. It doesn’t. Empowerment is not something that is given (that is the misguided assumption of privilege); empowerment is something that is shared and amplified; it is tangible when a group of people are invested in the growth and betterment of all members and are not relying on Olympus to tell them when they do good work or not.

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