Faster. Stop controlling.

True speed makes things indistinct. It blurs vision and judgment. Time shrinks. Error margin increases. As we enter a world blurred by speed, decisions need to be made faster with less information. People look at you for answers to problems you never heard of. Leadership stress appears when you stretch the limits.
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What can you do to go faster with your team? Stop controlling them. Control slows you down. As Mario Andretti said: “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.” You need to renounce control in order to speed up. But how to do it within acceptable risk parameters?
The short answer you have been given is: “Trust your people and they will do it. Just make sure they are competent.” Our research and experience in leadership development over two decades has shown that replacing control with trust per se is not enough to guarantee sustainable top performance and quality levels. We need to replace control with trust in the ability of people to control themselves. It seems a small difference, but it’s not.
You might have competent people that lack the drive and ability to control themselves. To push themselves further and be better. The skills, processes and attitudes required to do something or to steer one’s performance in doing it are different. If you trust people who are only competent in ‘doing’ and not in ‘steering’ their performance, you are in for a surprise.
The challenge is to set up a system that develops your people to the point where you fully trust their ability to do both. It’s not about your control over people and circumstances. It’s about their control over their performance under the circumstances. Even when it’s not world class, if they have the tools and drive, they will improve it. Your job as leader is to develop the people who can accelerate the business and get out of the way. Let them go faster. Stop controlling.

Ricardo Vargas
Consulting House CEO