Employees at every level are screaming for the same thing and it makes no difference if they are working in a large or small organization. They want freedom to perform. While leaders believe in the concept of giving autonomy to their employees, there needs to be a realization that it takes more than just permission.
“Structure creates freedom!”
Yes, I said it… the “S” word. Structure has gotten a bad rap by many who boast of providing a creative work environment. But I contend that structure allows more teammates more freedom to think, make quick decisions and explore new opportunities.
Let me be clear, structure doesn’t mean working in a box with rules. Oh no, it’s actually the opposite, structure means there is common sense, best practices and reasoning behind how teams operate with each other. Teammates know what’s expected and they can move and make decisions on their own because the structure allows them the freedom to perform.
Without structure there are no decision-making boundaries. Therefore, decisions have to be made from the top. Lack of structure leads to lack of growth and stifles creativity and great thinking from employees.
Designing a creative workplace with a backbone of structure will also aid in the following:
Does every client get the same service? When a new client is obtained, does the structure ensure consistent teammate activity and service? When a new employee starts work, is their first day consistent with other new hires? As a team, are your decisions consistent with one another? Structure provides a foundation for excellent performance that is scalable and repeatable.
Great performing sales companies are great because of two items. First, they have good sales people who can connect and build relationships. Second, they have a structured system to perform within. One without the other will give average performance but together, talent and structure will result in a constant and steady increase in performance.
Usually the people that hate the thought of structure are either very creative or they have always had to be the one pulling things off for the team. Surround these creative people with efficiency so they can run off to the next idea without all the balls dropping from the first three ideas. A team operating within a competent structure or process will continue the legacy and life of creative and great ideas.
I love chaos but the reality is it frustrates teams and it minimizes profits. The franchising industry taught me that I could have sales growth chaos if I had a team that kept things operating in a way that backed me up and filled in the gaps. This structure gave them permission and responsibility on decisions and actions. It allowed the sales team to be extreme because the flowchart of activities that followed a sell was structured for consistency time, after time, after time.
So give your team less rules and more freedom by giving them a structured environment in which they know expectations and can take ownership on decisions, actions, goals and ideas for growth.