Stop being the bottleneck!

The day the scouts showed me how letting go of control can lead to better ideas, more engagement, and increased productivity

A few months ago we took a group of Scouts to a week-long camp in the Lake District.

I was a scout as a boy and loved it so much, and learned so much, that when I ‘grew up’ (for those who know me, please stop sniggering) I became a Scout Leader to give something back.

One day at the camp I was getting frustrated that we’d scheduled activities for every minute of the day, without any breathing spaces, so I suggested the scouts have a ‘Do What You Like’ day.

There was only one rule: we adult leaders had to say yes if we could.

We gave the kids the resources – clay, paracord, rope, tools, and more – and said, “you can do whatever you want.”

They said, “We want to go paintballing.” We said, “You can’t.”

So they made fires, built dens, fashioned swings, and hammocks… a few slept out overnight, one even made an underground heated shelter.

It turned out that when we relinquished control, they ended up doing the kinds of things we would’ve scheduled anyway, but the kids took it in directions we would never have expected.

At Then Somehow, it’s a question we often get our clients to think about. What happens when you let go of control?

To make progress where things are stuck, it can be one of the first things to look at. In an organisational context, this often means breaking down the desire to micro-manage and control your staff.

At so many clients we’ve found that staff are overstretched and frightened of making decisions. The autonomy has been knocked out of them. They’re paralysed.

Some business leaders would say the secret to success is letting other people do things less well than you can do them yourself.

It can be hard to do it, but it’s worth letting your people take control because they will take you in directions you hadn’t even thought about.

The point is, something good happens when you stop being the bottleneck and let staff do what they like, within parameters of course.

If you’d like to find out more about how Then Somehow could work with you to develop yourself and the people in your organisation, please get in touch here.