Separating the What from the How…
To understand how companies manage to radically empower their employees and deliver consistent results, it’s necessary to distinguish between the What and the How of discipline. The issue is the How..
In most organizations, control is exercised via standard operating procedures, tight supervision, detailed role definitions, a minimum of self-directed time, and frequent reviews by senior employees. These mechanisms certainly bring people to heel, but they also put a short leash on initiative, creativity and passion..However, there are other ways of keeping things in check!
It actually turns out they you do not require a lot of top-down discipline when 4 conditions are met:
1. First-line employees are responsible for results
2. Team members have access to real-time performance data
3. They have decision authority over the key variables that influence performance outcomes
4. There’s a tight coupling between results, compensation and recognition
So yes, discipline and freedom can coexist, but not if companies rely on ‘stick’ instead of ‘carrot’ methods for keeping employees in line!