Monday, September 19, 2016

Enabling or controlling?

There are lots of rules and guidelines out there. Every day we each contribute a few more.. at home, at work, for ourselves and our communities. Beyond examining if our choice is being driven from fear or passion, the next step is to ask if the outcome is best served by something that enables or controls...

We can't have both. We've all been on projects with governance that was not clearly one or the other and folks often were confused as to how to make a decision and what the change really looked like.

So what's the difference?

Control: Be home by 11 pm.
Enable: Default is to be home by 11 pm unless there is prior agreement by both parties on a different time.

First one is finite and sets a clear boundary. Sometimes we need that. Sometimes we hate being treated like children and will push the boundary or ignore it.
Second one allows both parties (parent & child) to enable discussion, negotiation for earlier or later if the default will not work in a given circumstance.

Control: Thou shalt not kill.
Enable: Thou shall love, respect and protect each other.

Again, first one sets a boundary we all feel happier having. But it only eliminates one specific behaviour, leaving loopholes that many have exploited over the centuries. Which created more controls. Which had loopholes....  And it doesn't enable new behaviours in place of the one behaviour denied.

Control: Don't push that red button.
Enable: The following circumstances will require pushing the red button.

Control: Fill out this form on X.
Enable: Ensure X is fully documented.

Control:  I will not eat sugar.
Enable: I will make healthy food choices.

There is a place for controls. (Stop at the stop sign...) And one for enablers. However, their very nature means you must select which tone you need to set for your project, family, self, etc.

I prefer enabling governance (unless I'm Audit...) because people being people would prefer to feel like their judgment matters. Plus, there will always be a loophole; I'd rather it be a discussion than a rebellion.

1 comment:

The Girl in the Cafe said...

Interesting post!

I met you today, Dennie, at B------ cafe, upstairs. I'm at I couldn't see a way to email you! But thanks for your help today. :) Tricia