42nd Street Company (#42stc)

Freedom, through structure (#FreedomToPerform)

By on December 5, 2013

It’s about having ‘just enough’ process.

With too little process you have too high risk and too high need for coordination.

With too much you get unnecessary constraints.

By finding the right balance between ‘bureaucracy’ and ‘anarchy’, you can achieve the optimal freedom in your organization.

There is an important implication of this – recall the well known connection:

PERFORMANCE == ENVIRONMENT x INDIVIDUAL

It says that the performance (or behavior) of an individual is determined both by the individual and the environment in which the individual is placed. You can even generalize this and say that this would also work as ‘PERFORMANCE == ORGANIZATION x TEAM’ … or even ‘SYSTEM x ACTORS’. Intuitively it makes sense that performance of a (social) system depends on the system (=organization) it self as well as the actors (=team).

The implication is that structure does not need to be forced, but can be socially agreed as well. In an intelligent system, the actors will know to change the system so as to improve their performance.

This means that you can achieve freedom through structure both by forced structure as well as socially agreed structure.

This is an underlying assumption for the ‘Game changing beliefs’ – by ad hearing to certain principles – by your choice to believe – you can influence the system to change your performance. Obviously as an individual or as a team you can also make impacts to enhance the odds. In this sense principles you chose to believe in can become game changers for your overall performance. This is why we talk about ‘Game Changing beliefs‘!

It’s clever use of ‘freedom [to perform] through structure’ and the performance equation.

(Another implication of the performance equation is that a constructive way to change performance is to change the environment – often more doable that changing an individual. However, by making the right changes to the environment, the intelligent individual will adapt over time. I made a ‘joke’ about this in another post: ‘How to change a husband’.)