Strong Standards Drive Freedom to Create

By Martin Haworth
Martin Haworth

In a business world where innovation and creativity are in fashion right now, many organizations find the need to be more relaxed to engage with their employees and let them off their ropes.

Such freedom is, in enlightened organizational eyes, vital to ensure that every one of their people feel that the environment is ideally suited to getting in the flow and being able to have the perfect midset for these new demands of novel approaches to work.

The challenge for many organizations is to ensure that there are standards in place which employees adhere to, whilst also engendering a culture of openness, freedom and new ways of working.

freedom bird

These standards may be of behavior, security, communication, equality and more. All of which are vital components that people need to understand better what is expected of them in general, when employed together in their workplace community.

Such rules are vital to ensure that everyone gets along in a civilised way together and, more importantly, each appreciates the needs and expectations of their fellow colleagues too.

Rules and freedom.

Using the two words together in the same sentence seems an oxymoron that simply won't work. Yet they are particularly comfortable bedfellows if the best value is to be achieved from every employee.

For rules create understanding that everyone adheres to. And once clear, with all the players signed up, individuals are much more able to relax and do their own thing. From rigidity can come freedom after all.

To ensure that rules do not encumber employees, engaging them by including them in the design of workplace standards enables contribution and commitment. When they are involved in creating the structure within which all will work, joint ownership in the creative process with management, will provide more productive than when such strictures are simply imposed from an impersonal 'above'.

Completely structureless organizations and teams might offer hope of greater flexibility and outputs, yet this is so often not the case. Wrangling and discontent start to suck energy from creative opportunities as individuals feel, share and focus on their personal sensitivities that are being - to them - abused, so less work gets done and that which is will tend to be stilted and compliant.

Much better to be clear on the standards and rules together - and then get on with the freedom that such discipline enables.