My body scrunches, when someone says, “you can’t do that” or “you have to do this.” It is a revealing sign that a value is important, when our body talks to us.
One of my highest values is freedom. It is also a top values of my husband – luckily enough. This value has directed many of our major life choices; such as wanting to work for ourselves, living abroad, adventurous travel, etc. This value also impact our behavior at work, towards each other, our children, and our friends and even our ways with our animals – our dog Lucky has walked without a leash forever.
I asked my husband when we were out for a walk on the lovely Swiss countryside along green and flower fields with snow capped peaks in the background, how his value of freedom impacts how he lead people in his company. It was very interesting to hear his answer. He says that he believes that one of the reasons people like to work in the company and seldom quit, is that employees have freedom to do their own things. The company is built on respect and trust and a belief that each person who receives the freedom to find their own way, will also feel more empowered and will be more resourceful, creative, productive and responsible. There are of course frameworks and guidelines within the company, but leaders do not watch over the employee’s’ shoulders.
When an employee introduces a new idea, the goal is to provide opportunities to try and test the idea. By giving them freedom to explore, it will inspire responsibility, engagement, and creativity. The ideas might turn out great and if it does not turns out so well, then the person will have learned much better by trial and error, rather than having been told that the idea was bad. That could very well have been discouraging impacting their energy, creativity and engagement in the future and as a byproduct, their productivity.
Most Swedish organizations operate with a relatively flat organization structure, which promotes independence, creativity and responsibility, with the aim to achieve higher productivity, retention and profitability and not to forget, more happiness at work.
I like this quote and find it funny, “If you were meant to be controlled you would have come with a remote.”