Combining performance and freedom

Translated from French. Article from Caroline Hardy, published February 25th, 2019 on www.revuegestion.ca. Click here for the original French version.

 

How far does freedom in management extend? As a human, manager and leader, do you give your teams enough freedom? And for yourself? Do you think about it every day? What are the potential impacts of greater organizational freedom for your business and for society in general?

 

Intervening and Influencing: a definition of freedom

According to economist and philosopher Amartya Sen (1998 Nobel Prize winner), freedom is – among other things – the ability to intervene and influence; a concept he calls “capabilities” (Sen, 2000). Intervening and influencing, two verbs, two behaviors that seem ancient given how basic they are. Yet in 2019, they are also extremely modern and applicable to organizations that evolve in a complex system where everything is intertwined.

The opportunities to make choices in relation to our responsibilities, as well as our aspirations and desires, are potential sources of inspiration in the workforce. There are a variety of impacts on performance related to freedom that we can observe on a daily basis: for example, greater decision-making capacity, increased curiosity about our environment, leading to greater creativity, and increased organizational mobilization. But how do we provide greater freedom in our organization? What elements can allow your teams and employees to influence and intervene?

Here are a few, from the simplest to the most complex, that may help you to initiate organizational dialogue: work hours and places, organizing work, company culture, priority management, employee selection, delivery dates, budget allocation, setting financial margins, organizational strategy, creation of new concepts, research and innovation.

Let us consider a specific case: if employees are allowed to manage their own work schedules, or even their own workplaces, they will opt for the most convenient times of the day, being times and places (whether noisy or not, whether in the office or not) where they are most productive and most likely to create and think in accordance with their own rhythm. This self-determination can increase performance for many.

Freedom, control and performance: the paradoxes

This sense of freedom, which gives wings to many, can also overwhelm others. One of the great organizational paradoxes (Pauchant & Mitroff, 2001) remains that of control vs. freedom; in other words, the importance attached to these two concepts in the “design” of our organizations.

These questions may lead you to think differently about the elements that shape your team’s performance: is your team performing better when the leaders exact control or when they provide greater freedom of choice and action? Is there a ratio, a scale, an optimal balance?

These questions, which seem unanswerable or at least have as many answers as there are people, demonstrate the relevance of understanding who we are as humans. Choosing to give more or less freedom/control to our teams is a strategic choice for
organizations. The choice, when made consciously, allows us to understand the expected and desired behaviors.

Furthermore, this paradox of freedom and control suggests that we can choose the stance that we will take on a daily basis. Great leaders often question themselves. Take a step back. Who are we? What are the needs of the people around us? And who do we want to become? These are the reflections and introspections that lead to greater performance.

Finally, freedom is the ability to choose who we are. Choosing our level of freedom, strategically choosing whether or not our organization is more in control and centralized or innovative, and chaotic. Humans are free to influence and intervene when it comes to the freedom we afford to our teams. Leaders are free to decide how performance will be sustained.

The possibilities

What if giving greater freedom helped accelerate business performance? Is freedom synonymous with fulfillment and well-being? By offering and proposing the freedom to think, choose and act, we welcome a world of possibilities for individuals and organizations.

 

Caroline Hardy
Director of Executive Coaching and Training Programs at Proaction International

 

 

Proaction International will take part in the 19th edition of SIRHA 2019 in Lyon, France

SIRHA (International Catering, Food and Hotel Trade Exhibition), the leading world hospitality and food service event, will be held from 26th to 30th January 2019 at Lyon-Eurexpo. 2984 exhibitors and over 207,930 professionals will be attending this event.  

Proaction International is proud to be taking part for the first time in this global event, alongside MTI Group, an independent French and European agri-food industry network.  

Come and meet members of Proaction International at stand 2.1B52. The team would be delighted to discuss their business activities over a few snacks and drinks.  

You’ll also have the chance to win a pair of tickets to our flagship event on leadership and management, the 2nd edition of the Sommet Performance which will be held in Lyon on June 6, 2019. Three pairs of tickets are to be won!  Come and try your luck! Click here for more information on the 2019 Sommet Performance.
*The event will be held in French. 

Join us at our stand for an aperitif on Monday, January 28th as from 6pm!

Useful information:  

  • Dates: Saturday January 26th to Wednesday January 30th 2019  
  • Opening hours: 9am to 6pm 
  • Location: Eurexpo – Visitor entrance 
  • Address: Boulevard des Droits de l’Homme, 69500 Bron, FRANCE 
  • Website: https://www.sirha.com/fr  

 Image Sirha

Image source: SIRHA 2019 brochure 

 

COME AND MEET US AT THE MODEX TRADE SHOW IN ATLANTA!

You will find out about the latest innovations in the supply chain industry.

Proaction International will proudly be attending the Modex Show 2018 on April 9-12 at the Georgia World Congress Center. Over 800 exhibitors from industry, commerce and government will be participating.

Philippe Gautrin, our VP Business Development and Analysis, will be there as one of the speakers. He will give a presentation on using KBIs (Key Behavior Indicators) as a tool to reach the highest level of performance, on Wednesday, April 11th from 3:00 – 3:45pm in Theater F.

This event will also be a great occasion for your business to network with other professionals involved in the manufacturing and the supply chain industry:

C-level and VP-level manufacturing, distribution, logistics and supply chain executives, manufacturing and production managers, industrial, plant and manufacturing engineers, IT, logistics and supply chain directors, third-party logistics professionals, distribution center and warehousing managers, procurement professionals.

Come visit us at our booth (#C1450)!
Register now: https://www.modexshow.com/register.aspx?ref=attendees

LINKEDIN