#5things to do now for #Freedom_Management (plus ONE)

I know many are worried we are living hard times when it comes to feeling free. Threats abound from the political instability, terrorism, chauvinism across Europe and the USA to the uncertainty of the global economy. Corporate leaders have become so risk averse because of so many threats which did in fact come true. I sense this fear when we talk, so different from the roaring nineties.

Still, this fear is mostly a product of a wrong storytelling and sense making we are building up. All data show quite evidently that the world we live in is probably the best ever, with a steady decrease in poverty, an opening up of society, widespread availability of products and services at reasonable prices, and renewed social mobility thanks to start-ups and entrepreneurship.

So what is desperately needed is to step up and change this depressing momentum. My new book, Freedom Management, sets the tone for such a change of
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As a Corporate Leader you can surf the waves of changes which are occurring and position your organization for the future. There are 5 things to be done:

  1. Untap your organization potential: it si time to get rid of the idea that you need to engage people TO do something and realise you can let them engage FOR something that matters to them. Let energy flow from the individual’s deep engrained desire to be oneself
  2. Concentrate on sense giving and sense acting: people are increasingly striving to get free, and the only way they can funnel their energy on your organisation is because they feel like so. Get rid of the silly idea you can control individuals through incentives or internal communication. They simply do not work, anymore if ever!
  3.  “De-leaderize” your organization and your HR policies: we do not need any leaders in the traditional sense. Not even managers the way they used to be. Organisation need interpreters of a more flexible and mobile society and economy.
  4. Breed Freedom managers: new competencies like Search for Uniqueness, Discovery Orientation, Evolutionary and Continuous Learning, Evidence Based Insight, Nomadic Desire will be needed and you should prepare for this
  5. Disrupt your HR identity: HR is based on the assumption we can control individuals and standardize their beahviors. The only possible change is to radically disrupt the function and rebuild it on different assumptions and different practices like for instance succession hiking or talent hunting

The good news is that if you do not act now, all of this will eventually happen anyhow, and this is also the bad news, though, because it could be too late.

And yes, I forgot about the PLUS ONE. The PLUS ONE is to radically rethink the idea of organisational structure, which will be a latex, made of moving layers. I do explain the details in Chapter 5 of the book, which you can find here:

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RevelACTION: Freedom in management

After twenty years studying, discussing, analyzing, and changing organizations I had a revelation. No, not a revelation, it was more a revelACTION how I call them when I coach top managers. A revelACTION is an ex-post sense making of some facets of a situation or a part of one’s life that opens up a completely different perspective, and infuses with a novel meaning all we have been struggling to accomplish. Yes, you could call it simply revelation, but to me it originates new actions, and a deeper comprehension of one’s travel on Earth. Then, it is a kind of action. And it is a kind of action of a particularly valuable kind, because it allows you as an individual to realize that you are not a sequence of actions commanded by the everyday routine, neither are you but a cognitive set of stimulus-reaction behaviors. You are a human being, with cognition, values, and beliefs that come to be suspended if not suppressed by the overly institutionalized character of everyday life on this planet. And then your magic revelACTION kicks in and everything gets into its place. You realize that either unconsciously or through an incomplete plan you were after something, relevant and unique to your journey.

My revelACTION is freedom. I never realized it, but I have been obsessed by a constant search for a way to liberate people I met in organizations. I have felt the pain of all the burden they brought along with them. It could be a class of learners who struggled to accept the irrationality of their organization, which was imposed on them through silly procedures. I saw it in the eyes of successful managers who were kept in chain by all the expectations that had arisen around them. Their eyes told the story of so many moments of life lost in the pursuit of a role tailored around them, but too narrow to be their life. and then what about the pain of some of my students, brilliant and ambitious who came back to talk with me of their experiences in their new workplaces. So much sorrow, all coming out of the lack of freedom in and around organizations.

But all these emotions surfaced when I asked myself what I would like to write in the first book that is just a search for a new message to change organizations, and I had my revelACTION. I am taking freedom as the foundation of a different way of interpreting organizations. I went through all the prophets of freedom, like Von Hayek, and many philosophers of the past, and I am trying to describe how we can make our institutions (and our world?) a place for freedom.

Because we cannot ask for freedom only in the global markets, we have to pursue it into any single act of our life. So, if you are reading this note, and think you might have an idea or an example to share, I welcome them. They’ll be part of my forthcoming book for Gower Ashgate.

The title? Freedom management, of course…