Don’t Command and Control – Direct and Adapt

The cultural brainwash that leadership is all about command and control runs deep. It remains the default behaviour in many companies, including small ones and ones built on intellectual output.

Command and Control IS a valid model. There are scenarios where it may be the best answer. And not the obvious ones – for example, some of the best performing military units don’t adopt it.

I help companies execute on their strategies. I find that leaders (and systems) who direct and adapt are far better at executing strategies than ones who command and control.

A team needs direction to achieve anything intentionally. The leader’s responsibility is to make this clear. S/he may get there through collaboration, demagoguery or benevolent dictatorship. There’s a place for all of those, and they’ve all worked at different times. But without a direction, there’s no compounding on action.

The leader then needs to be systematically adaptable. Not just learning from observations as they emerge, but also letting go of too rigid a plan up front. Rigid plans in organisations comfort as much as they deceive. So apply more focus on adapting your approach to navigating a clear direction than on creating an inflexible plan up front.

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