I used to be a control-freak. Seeing things that others did “wrong” in my judgment. Seeing opportunities for preventing others make mistakes. Adding structure where I thought others created chaos. Adding principles where I thought others must be missing them. Adding policies where I thought others needed them for damage control. Promoting standards to limit innovation where others in fact needed room for innovation. Adding governance where I thought others must be governed. Ignoring the idea that others must have a chance for the necessary learning experiences. Until I read the statement “Relax. Nothing is under Control” from Adi Da Samray. Since then I am more and more convinced that too much control isn’t desired. And if any, control should not be aimed at controlling others but rather on helping others. So I am learning now how to let go of things I used to want to have “under control”. Learning to transform my controller “role” into a helper role. And I discovered some useful instruments that support me with this transformation. They’re very easy to use and they’re free. They are virtues. The most important virtue that can help letting “control” go is trust. If you trust another person, you’re allready halfway there. Think of it this way: the cost of structural lack of trust will probably be many times higher than the benefits of structural trust. Another virtue is forgiveness. If another person makes a learning mistake and you forgive them, you’re at 75%. People make mistakes, you too! Accept it as a fact! Allow ample room to learn. If you practice patience when things aren’t quite going the way you would like (for example not fast enough) you’re at 85%. I like to compare this to the “angels” patience I must practice when training my dog for agility: it works!. And then there is respect. If you respect that not everyone has the same learning skills as you would maybe like, you’re at 90%. Not everyone is equally talented so the real “talent management” is to accept talent diversity and integrate the available talents. Acceptance brings you to 95%. And finally, add a little love on top to help take away (suppressed) fears. Now you’re at 100%. To wrap things up: 50% trust, 25% forgiveness, 10% patience, 5% respect, 5% acceptance and 5% love are useful ingredients that help me transform my role from controller to helper. The percentages are just an example, they can be adapted to any situation. Good luck with practicing these virtues and please let me know if they also worked for you. Picture source here.
December 31, 2011