Striking the balance between freedom and ensuring consistency is difficult. As a leader you need to be one step ahead of your team in order shape the decision making process.
Take for example these two pictures of toothbrushes. They belong to my sons, but who has the green one?
We always have trouble getting our boys out of the house in the morning. If they forget to clean their teeth then this means another time wasting trip upstairs. There was an easy solution, a 2nd set of toothbrushes downstairs.
As a way to get them more excited about this, I let them choose the tooth brushes themselves. It was only when we got home later that I realised our older son had a green toothbrush upstairs and a orange one downstairs. And our younger son had a orange one downstairs and green one upstairs.
So the lessons…
- Be consistent: Scaling processes inconsistency can lead to more confusion
- As a leader you need to look at the bigger picture. Give your team freedom but place constraints on them and ensure consistency is a requirement
- Doubling resources or capabilities in certain areas can avoid bottlenecks but don’t forget the extra overhead and maintenance of keeping them running.
Involving your team in the decision making process is critical. Just think carefully before offering them too much freedom which may then lead to inconsistency.