Creating a Hoop Free Zone
Sluggish organizations require hoops before action. Dogs enjoy jumping through hoops, people don’t.
Hoops represent frigid control. Passion is inversely proportional to the number of hoops required. Hoops are roadblocks masquerading as protection.
Why it matters:
Fewer hoops fuel passion. Dynamic organizations eliminate controlling hoops and propel rather than stifle ideas.
“The harder it is to implement ideas the fewer ideas you’ll get.” (John Bernard, author of, “Business at the Speed of Now.)
10 components of letting go in ways that fire passion:
- Unmistakable clarity regarding short term goals and long term vision.
- Authentic respect for the talents and gifts of each employee.
- Consistent orientation toward yes within the constraints of goals and vision.
- Enlightened attitudes about failure.
- Processes that eliminate unnecessary approvals.
- Transform approval processes into reports.
- Complete transparency of whose working on what.
- Persistent training that teaches people strategies for moving ideas forward.
- Courageously unstop the flow of knowledge and information.
- Generously tell others the strengths you see in them in ways that excites their passions.
I’m completely sold on the power of taking small steps toward big goals. Avoid the tendency to minimize small steps because they don’t reach far enough. Furthermore, putting off small steps in the hope of finding that BIG step guarantees stagnation. Most importantly, big steps emerge while you’re taking small steps.
Authorize people to try big things in small ways and then report the results to everyone. Small steps are:
A series of successful small steps justifies investing more resources.
Small steps make a big difference.
Have the hoops in your organization drained your passion?
What small steps move your organization toward dynamic innovation?
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That is quoteable, Dan. “Hoops are roadblocks masquerading as protection.”
Sadly, everyone begins through the thin masquerade. The problem is getting the “hoop placers” to see the folly and destructiveness of their actions. To get them to see that they are the impediment to the progress they preach about. The hoops keep us locked into the “way we’ve always done it”
Those trying to navigate the hoops lose confidence because they realize it is a game, an perhaps even a game they cannot win. This can be disheartening and defeating for them.
Only by giving people the proper toolsadd freedom to take steps forward, even small ones, and supplying a safetynet or backstop can individuals and organizations move into and keep pace with the changing tides.
I hear your “small steps” as a call to get into the business of running little experiments. Experiments in which results are closely monitored. When the results lead in a good direction, that’s a signal to keep doing this, or to do more of it. If the results take you off track, stop and do something else.
Lots of great ideas here, Dan, to help leaders start to remove bureaucratic constraints. Thanks.
Hoops inhibit creativity and encouragement. It creates boundary of limitation. As long as hoops encourage innovation, it should be accepted. Hoops are also good when they are tried and tested. Hoops are even better when research and development department asks people to follow particular hoops. I think hoops depend upon purpose, people and performance. If purpose of hoops connects people with performance, what is wrong it that. But when hoops create fear of follow up, then it raises question. But in either case, there should be flexible hoops that allow deviating hoops with justifications. Hoops are like layers of organisations; more the layers, less the freedom and vice versa.
The small steps that allow dynamic innovations could be based on culture of trust, freedom and flexibility. Innovations should not be linked with outcomes. Innovations take longer time to produce result. So organisations should be aware about the history and trends of innovations. Innovations should not be linked with rigidity and regulations. It is leadership act that needs understanding with sensibility and wisdom.
So many organizations are stuck in the old mindset that employees have nothing to offer. that they are paid to do what they are told and that is all. Yet the “leaders” in the organization are hired because of their management training and nothing to do with their ability to think. This loses momentum and eventually leaves employees with low morale, and a company fading fast.
It seems there are environs where the hoop holder is holding up against a solid wall so that when you attempt to jump through you smack your head against the wall. Leaders misrepresent that process with false UP3—unnecessary procedures, ubiquitous policies and unintelligible protocols. Disguised as ‘trial by fire’, ‘it’s the way things work here’, or ‘it is our checks and balances’…they are a black hole for passion and commitment.
To move forward, you do need small outposts or cadres that share a vision of what can be…to sustain, it is not a top down process. At however many levels of hierarchy, there needs to be those people who breathe, speak and most importantly walk what should be.
To take those small ‘different’ steps in the face of the entrenched (often the systemically traumatized if you want to get down to it), can place one in an ongoingly, uncomfortable position. That torrent can wear down the hardest stone. However, without those incremental steps, in an illusion of ‘safety’, the organization stagnates and doesn’t even know it.
So that cadre, those trail blazers or champions of change need continuous overt/covert leadership support. Not 365-24-7, but the right light (support or coaching or mentoring) at the right time…and they, not you, know which light is needed when. So, you have to ask…not tell. The spectrum of light will be varied…at times the right words, the right actions and even the right data–all can dispel those say they kNOw, but are only saying ‘no’. Shining a light on negative hoops can cause change…or at least some scurrying to darker corners.
Outstanding Top 10 list Sir Dan, you may be getting your 300 word limit down to 100 or less!
Hi Dan, Everyone,
Could someone elaborate a little on 6. Transform approval process into reports for me? I suspect it has been covered in earlier posts – but this one doesn’t make intuitive sense to me.
Thanks in advance.
Dan might mean to fully delegate the authority for projects rather than micromanage and require a series of approvals before the next steps can be taken. If I am reporting out on a project, it is clear I am responsible for it. I report on progress to date, but do not need to keep going back and asking if it okay to proceed.
Thank you – that makes sense
Great post, development both for leaders and directs is the most essential driver of success and your advise is very good 😉
WOW what a call to action this post is !!
“9.Courageously unstop the flow of knowledge and information” This is simply brilliant advice . too often people reserve growth for the planted. instead of planting new growth . I will follow this blog and recommend it to my readers at
Simply brilliant! “Hoops are roadblocks masquerading as protection. Fewer hoops fuel passion. Dynamic organizations eliminate controlling hoops and propel rather than stifle ideas”.
This is how people aquire ownership and the prescription to responsability! Plain language.
I already shared it on my linkedIn profile. Thank you!!
That’s one of my favourite posts! Thanks Dan.