In order to create and launch new products, build new businesses and enter new markets, productive people need freedom. Freedom to search for the knowledge and people they need. Freedom to network with peers. Freedom to ponder, wander, hatch, test, prove (and disprove) ideas.
A full 80% of wealth creating capacity in today’s economy is knowledge-based. Unfortunately, modern organizations fight their own knowledge workers nearly every step of the way by clinging to Industrial Age relics like vertical structures and supervisory control. Email-and-meetings cultures are stubborn tyrants that unintentionally squash effectiveness.
The increase of information we all live with in and out of work — much of which is little more than Facebook-like personal preferences without context, attribution or embedded knowledge — adds to the number of unproductive interactions knowledge workers must sift through. When organizations make it harder for knowledge workers to find what they need, trust and motivation suffer.
The job of organization’s today is to remove structural barriers to the interaction of their professionals and their extended networks. If leadership can establish structure in the form of disciplined processes, decision-making protocols, rolling budgets and streamline the organizational structure and reporting relationships, freedom can start to take hold.
If you’re not sure if your organization is stuck in an Industrial Age rut, take this quiz.