Close your eyes and go back with me in time to colonial America. The year is 1776. Our country has just declared its independence, after decades of sacrifice, conflict and bloodshed. Our independence was founded on the basis that all people had the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. What a tremendous time. Did it mean the end of our troubles? No. But our country was on the path to true freedom.
Now today, that right of freedom remains in this great country. We have the freedom to live and work in a manner that allows us to pursue happiness while also obeying the laws of this country.
We experienced the surge of technological innovation as a result of man’s freedom in America. Innovation was one of the monumental developments our country experienced when its people were free.
Successful companies innovate and innovative companies allow freedom.
As a business owner, leader, executive or human resource professional, extending that spirit of freedom inside the walls of your organization is a top priority. Successful companies innovate and innovative companies allow freedom. If people are free outside the doors of your company, they are certainly entitled to freedom inside the walls of your organization.
Below are 10 ways to create freedom in your company:
- Give employees assignments with deadlines rather than hours of operation and the expectation to sit in a prison-like cubicle all day.
- Abolish the use of a desk phone. Give your employees a smart phone as their business phone.
- Severely limit the number of meetings and always allow participants to call or Skype if they are available.
- Eliminate your paid time off policy. Employees know when it is best to take vacations. They also know how much vacation they should take. And don’t expect employees to be electronically plugged-in while they vacationing with their family.
- Create an expectation of civil discourse. Encourage healthy debates but keep it civil.
- Institute a culture of servant-leadership. Otherwise, some leaders will act as kings who rule over their minions.
- Limit the number of policies in your handbook. Your labor attorney will not like this recommendation, but do they know anything about successful cultures?
- Hire people who are innovative thinkers and don’t follow the status-quo.
- The company’s culture should be unique to your company, not simply a copy of another.
- Allowing freedom means leaders must be willing to live with risk and ambiguity, qualities of true entrepreneurs.