I once had a CEO tell me: “I didn’t think my people were going to like the structure you proposed, but they seem to be enjoying the new environment…” It’s a common perception that people are looking for flexibility and freedom, and they are, yet we as human beings succeed best when working within a structured space. How do those two things come together? By creating a space that clearly supports flexibility and freedom within a structured framework, of course!
Think about the structural framework of the building you’re sitting in (or near if you’re in the field!). The walls are built on this framework, electrical conduits are anchored to the framework ensuring regular and efficient delivery of power, the heating system is likewise a part of the framework bringing much needed resources to the tenants, in short, the structure supports the ability of all of the people in the building to work effectively together. At the same time, within the framework there is a great deal of autonomy on how to set up an office, take down a non-load bearing wall to create collaborative space, or set up a quiet space for those who need to focus. Within the framework of the building, tenants have freedom to choose the best strategy for their comfort and success. The same is true when you build a solid framework for your team.
When people know what they are responsible for, and what authority they have to meet their responsibility; when they are clear on their scope of work and trust that they are supported by other’s contributions to workflow; when they accept responsibility for the results they are achieving versus doing the tasks they are assigned, THEN there is a framework in place that provides the right balance between structure and flexibility. Here are the keys to a solid structure for high performance:
– Clearly communicated purpose and values of the organization
– Established organizational structure with lines of supervision and communication identified
– Role definitions that describe what each team member is accountable for, and what authority they have to achieve their goals
Put these core pieces in place, and watch your team exceed your highest expectations!