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 our 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?

Not easily…

The key comes down to the owners/leaders willingness to create a culture where freedom trumps absolute control. Freedom, wedded with responsibility produces a coalition culture. It feels just this side of chaos but it really, really performs. It attracts the autonomous elite and requires strong leadership that isn’t heavy handed. And, it’s really difficult to sustain, 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. Building these kind of 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. Choose to build like Lockton. Choose to build like Choice, where Durps big dream is a self sustaining system. Choose to build like Kaufman, where Bretts krazies are just this side of chaos creating spaces that, well, defy gravity. Choose to build like we do at BTL where we practice what we preach and play together in ways that make no cents but make perfect sense to us. Choose to build an elite coalition, friend, where freedom and responsibility are bookends. Of course, this choice won’t be easy. Good.

Live hard. Love harder (Thanks, Teeks)…

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