As long as our behavior and actions come from a place of fear – fear of change, of not being good enough, of failure, of not belonging to the successful people or leaders, then we will attempt to control our employees more from a place of doubt than from a place of trust. We will continue to hide our true selves, and not reveal too much information, and spoon-feed people with over ambitious targets and constraining milestone reports, with the illusion that we can ensure our desired results through controlling everything and everyone. With this approach, all that we achieve is that our employees end up dependent on hedging strategies, which eat up their resources, but have nothing to do with unfolding their potential.
What does this say about one’s view of humanity and the types of fears that are lingering behind this system? As leaders, do we really believe that we are the only ones who have the answers to everything? Probably not, right? Instead of pretending that we know everything, wouldn’t it make much more sense if we took advantage of the potential and the creativity of our teams, in which we nourish this “Knowing through not-knowing” factor, so that it will motivate others to be more creative and arrive at new insights through awareness? Of course, as leaders, that would mean giving up the role of the sole ruler, the star who has made everything happen, and our egowould suffer a bit from the lack of attention. But, is it all about our ego, or is it all about releasing people’s potential and creating a space for entrepreneurial creativity? A space in which everyone has place for their potential to unfold, and have the will to explore it, to go in a new direction, to find new solutions, and at the same time have the freedom to make mistakes in order to grow and to learn.
What are the fundamental conditions under which people want to learn and grow? The health model of “Salutogenesis”, which was developed by American-Israelimedical sociologist AaronAntonovsky (1997), can provide us with some helpful indications. Unlike other professors of the time in the 70’s, he was concerned with the question of what keeps people healthy, and not what makes them ill. In the so-called “Nun study” he discovered that nuns who were suffering from dementia remained healthy in spite of it, due to the fact that theyhad a strong sense of coherence, i.e. the ability to use all of their resources to stay healthy. He described a presence of fundamental and deeply anchored trust, that life events arepredictable and explainable, and that one can solve problems, and that it is really worth it to engage oneself in the.
Trust as a basis for entrepreneurial potential
I highly suggest that you take a detailed look towards a company called SEMCO in Brazil. The owner and Chairman Ricardo Semler took over the company from his father more than 20 years ago, and has since then democratized the company as he sought out to do. That means that he does as little as possible, and he allows his employees to define company strategies all on their own. When asked about his company’s strategyhe answered totally at ease: „We don’t have one.“ (Semler 2004) Just try to imagine that quip coming from a board member belonging to a Fortune 500 or DAX 30 company. Unthinkable?
Ricardo Semler went on to explain that it is linked with the potential of his employees, and their enthusiasm for their company, with a meaningful business concept, that they enjoy doing and implementing, which itself defines the business strategy. He isn’t impressed at the least with abstract core skills and “paper tigers”. Do you realize how much trust that takes from a board, chairman, or even a business owner? Trust in oneself, in people, in the process, in the leadership and in purpose. Here, there’s no room left for ego. Antonowsky, A. (1979): Health, stress, and coping. New perspectives on mental and physical well-being, Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco
Weekly excerpt from the book “THE NEXT WAVE in BUSINESS”
wishing you an inspiring week..
warmly, Stefan Götz+