Aging in companies is caused by a decrease in flexibility and an increase in control. - Adizes Graduate School seminars
The industrial age was about control, and the information age, or the knowledge-worker age, is about release. - Stephen Covey
Pause there for a moment. Release...hmmm, what could Covey mean? What does release conjure up for you?
And release means helping people find their voice, so they can do what they love doing and what they do well.
Have you ever had that kind of job or role? What kind of supervision did it require? Right. You supervised yourself. You didn't need anyone to motivate you. When people find their voice, you don't need to worry about supervision, bureaucracy, rules and regulations, and what I call "the great jackass theory of human motivation" - carrot-and -sticking people...
Today, if people do not move gradually into this release model that I'm talking about, then they are going to be history. They won't be as productive, they won't be as innovative, and they won't be as quick. - Stephen Covey, author of The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, in Business 2.0, December 2004
I don't really buy that people need help finding their voice. It's there. They might need some encouragement to stop muffling and squelching it however. But Covey isn't speaking to your management. Release, letting go, being open is an intensely personal endeavor.
The most significant release is release from the past.
In a recent blog entry devoted to Coleman, he [friend Rob Kendt] recaps highlights of that interview, coming up with a few great quotes, the first of which is about the importance of looking forward—or at least, not looking back:
I asked him whether he'd been approached about doing a major Broadway revue of his hits, and he said he wasn't very interested: "A lot of these things happen because the composer goes after it. I'm just one of those people who don't want to go back and look at all that; it's over. I just keep moving and looking forward; it's my nature. People ask, 'What's your favorite song?' I say, 'The one I'm writing.' They get very disgusted with me."
For me, anyway, release means letting go of the past in every moment. And letting go of my illusion of control. Release means meeting people that you're not quite sure of why at the time. Release means allowing yourself to be guided. Release means trusting your creative process. Release means knowing that whatever you might have planned you are open to incredible unforeseen alternatives shifting everything around at the eleventh hour. And release means following your heart even if your head is a doubting Thomas.