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Senior Correspondent

Freedom ignites passion, imagination, and initiative; control destroys it. Freedom feeds vitality; control oppresses and limits. Freedom, however, can be dangerous. 

Freedom is essential because your team members' expertise exceeds yours, in their own areas. If you know more than everyone on your team, you have a weak team. 

Effective leaders set people free. 

Finding Freedom

1. Freedom regarding method, not mission. Free environments require mission clarity between individuals and organizations. Every free environment is mission driven, or it’s confused. Furthermore, all participants must know how personal mission aligns with organizational mission.

2. Freedom needs the big picture. Silos create enemies. Free people know how their behavior and performance impact others. They know how they matter.

3. Freedom necessitates constant feedback. Freedom without feedback is paranoia. People without feedback develop personal, self-serving agendas. It’s their only option.

4. Freedom requires information and transparency. Secrets indicate manipulation; transparency creates confidence, responsibility, and accountability. In free environments, everyone knows everything they need to know.

5. Freedom calls for equipping. Don’t bother developing people if you aren’t going to set them free to perform with new skills. Developing people sets them free to serve others.

6. Freedom requires responsibility, or anarchy results.

7. Freedom thrives on clarity. Confusion ends freedom because it feeds chaos.

8. Freedom is protected by cross-functional teams. Individuals acting independently destroy organizational freedom. People responsible to others can be set free.


Freedom is dangerous. Putting band-aids on old systems is futile. Freedom takes time.

How can leaders step toward free organizations?

What hinders free environments?

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