12th April 2013 

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Letting go                 
News and Comment from Roy Lilley

How's it going?  Settling in?  New job, new place, new people... same problems!  I know; there's no money, queues of patients around the block and everyone is a new kid on the block.  The ones that aren't are just other kids on a very confusing block.


Need a fresh start, fresh thinking?  Try some Letting-go Management. 


Let's get right to it; the money.  It's always about the money.  The trick in managing the money is to make sure everyone is part of managing the money.  Let-go and push decision making about the money as far down the organisation as you can.  People are not stupid; they manage their domestic budgets, loans, mortgages, manage their ISAs, run sports clubs and voluntary organisations.  They are not imprudent.  Publish accounts, put balances on the intranet and let everyone see how the money is going.  Break-up budgets and let as many people as possible be responsible for their own budget.


Get off people's backs; let-go, they can organise themselves.  Be clear about what you want; spell it out.  Leaders are visible, have a vision and share it often.  Describe what success looks like.  Lay down marker posts, milestones and create a GPS that people can refer to and come back to.  Then, let them get on with it.


Don't over organise; let-go and give people the space to self-organise and create natural, informal groups, gatherings, huddles and teams.  Leaders will emerge, consensus will surface and people will sparkle.  Give them room to innovate.  Understand it creates more failures than it does successes.  Asking people to innovate without being free to fail is like giving your other half a programme for a West End Show and calling it a night out.


Leaders don't need to have power; let-go the 'power'.  Leaders with power often turn out to be bullies who create an atmosphere of fear and dread and generate more bullies.  Leaders who can't 'instruct-change' rely on the knack of persuasion, illustration, storytelling and example to get things done.  Their job is to create the space for others to succeed.


Let-go the big, macho-organisation; break-up it into the smallest units you can... departments into sections, divisions into branches and groups into sub-groups.  This has the effect of pushing power down into the organisation making people feel closer to where the decisions are made, more responsible, closer to the action and closer to success.  It also has the effect of giving new people a chance to shine; people who, in a vertical hierarchy, get overlooked.  The stars of tomorrow are working for you today.


Let-go the on-high-planning; you can't just expect them-down-there to deliver for you up-there.  Include everyone you can in the planning process.  Ask opinions, run focus groups, make it easy for departments to organise themselves to contribute.  If you plan on your own, you'll end up delivering by yourself.  Create partnerships, mini-conglomerates, accomplices, collaborators and co-conspirators in search of success.


Let-go and celebrate!  Make everyone part of celebrating success; no matter how small and how often.  Success breeds success; small successes lead to achievements that lead to victory and bigger triumphs.


Let-go 'tough management'; Our-NHS is going to go through a tough time, instinctively some managers will think they have to become tough.  They think tricky times and hard decisions call for tough management.  Not true. 


New challenges call for a fresh style of management.  Let-go, shift the fulcrum point and you'll be surprised how strong you are and how good other people are. 


Holding-on is all about letting-go.


Have a good weekend.

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