Lenin or Lockton…

Coalitions, sound chaotic because they are – by design. Coalitions operate just this side of chaos because just this side of chaos is where the elite take up residence. Companies, big and small, almost always start as coalitions. Somewhere along the journey they choose to organize more formally. Large companies can operate as coalitions. One of best clients, Lockton Companies, has over 7,000 associates worldwide and yet they operate more like a coalition than a command and control kinda company. How’s it done, you ask?

The key comes down to the owners/leaders willingness to create a culture where freedom trumps absolute control. Freedom, wedded with responsibility produces this kinda culture. It feels just this side of chaos. It performs. It attracts autonomous elite. It requires strong leadership that isn’t heavy handed. It’s really, really hard in reality, don’t get me wrong. Remember, Viktor Frankl’s sobering observation as he looked upon America so many years ago. “The Statue of Liberty on the east coast should be supplemented by the Statue of Responsibility on the west coast.” You can’t build a sustainable coalition, much less country, without bookending freedom and responsibility.  Slow down and sit with this thought for awhile, leader…

Building these kinda coalitions is foreign to most leaders because most leaders share Lenin’s worldview more than Lockton’s. Lenin spoke for the majority of leaders when he said: “Freedom is good, but control is better.”

Want a better team? Choose to live like Lockton and take up residence just this side of chaos. Lenin’s time is long gone. Give up some control, my pyramid loving commander. The truth is you never really had control to begin with, did you? Choose to build an elite coalition where freedom and responsibility are bookended. Of course, it won’t be easy. Good…

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