Is Your Company a Club or a Prison?
Is Your Company a Club or a Prison?

Is Your Company a Club or a Prison?

(Spoiler: neither is good.)

We can limit the health and growth of our companies by treating them like a club or like a prison. In a club, things are fun and free but very little is structured, communication is strictly informal, and behavior norms match those of the leader–quirks and all. Growth stops because we can’t act much outside the leader’s personal scope.

In a prison (or any strict bureaucracy), fun and free are not valued. Everything is systematized, communication is strictly formal, and behavior norms reflect everyone’s fear of things getting screwed up. The organization can act beyond the personal scope of the leader. But growth still stops here because we can’t change to match what we and our clients need, want, and desire.

As our organizations grow, we can add just the right amount of structure and while promoting happiness, growth, and freedom for us, our clients, and our partners. Our job as leaders is to find that balancing point. We can tell it’s working because all who matter are happy and we are growing revenue, profit, and/or impact.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Thomas Hawk Most Exclusive Mobil Home Park in All of Mendocino County via photopin (license)

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