A pandemic lesson. More freedom, less control.

multicolored cyclops paintingThe organizations that thrive coming out of the pandemic will be the ones that don’t rely on top-down management for moving forward. They’ll be the ones that can innovate, and innovation doesn’t come from control, it comes from freedom.

Top-downers want control, they want measured response that isn’t risky and has guarantees. They like status quo and everyone in their place. No heretics, no uprisings, no change.

But the pandemic has taught us that change is not only inevitable, it’s necessary. And change pulls new leaders to the fore, it pulls people out of their tidy place and gives them a podium. It gives the artists all around us opportunities to create something new. And for this to happen, top-downers need to open doors — and minds.

Some organizations have seen that light. Some organizations have begun including more, listening more, and trying more. These are the seeds for innovation. But top-downers beware, innovation carries no guarantees and is inherently risky, it challenges the status quo. However, the alternative does have one guarantee, no innovation means a slow, or maybe even fast, entry into the business obit column.

The new normal. We must hope for less top-down and more freedom, more ideas, more listening, more bottom-up. Innovation can’t wait because change will not.

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