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Giving Up Control to Gain Alignment

Giving Up Control to Gain Alignment
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What happens when leadership gives up control to the grassroots of the organization? This week, as we look at this concept in action. In our conversations about leadership, we seek to help those who desire to become impactful leaders that make a difference in others’ lives.

#leadership #team #PeakPerformance #CoreIdentity #teamdevelopment #ShiftFromMeToTeam #purpose


In our book, The Shift from Me to Team, we share the counterintuitive idea that the more control leadership gives to the grassroots of the organization, the more alignment they will find. When the culture of an organization is well defined with a compelling vision, motivating Purpose, and shared Guiding Principles, four or more team members can be challenged with a critical decision for the organization. As a result, they take responsibility for delivering on their decision. We find that none of us desire to be average, and none of us set average goals for ourselves. We want to be valued and prove our value by taking responsibility for making something extraordinary possible. We have yet to find the team member who says, “Let me see how average I can be.” Each of us desires to be extraordinary, not average.

A Brazilian entrepreneurial businessman named Ricardo Semler put this concept into practice, not by design, but through trial and error, and by being sensitive to his team’s needs and desires. After taking over his family’s business, which had $4 million in annual sales, he took them to annual sales of $212 million in twenty-three years. He did so by giving up control of the organization and challenging the grassroots to make decisions on everything, providing key financial information to help ensure the organization thrived for the future security of all.

Giving team members access to the organization’s financials enabled them to make wise decisions. They were also challenged to take responsibility for their expenses, vacations, and salaries. In their board meetings, there were two seats open for the first two team members to show up to the meeting. These team members contributed their perspectives and participated in board decision making. Semler says these team members kept the company grounded, in touch with all team members, and real.

Watch Ricardo Semler’s 21-minute TED Talk, How to run a company with (almost) no rules,  to see the concepts we share The Shift from Me to Team being put to work in an exemplary manner.