15 Mar

THE ART OF LETTING GO AND FIGHTING THE URGE TO CONTROL

 

I stopped dieting for weight loss purposes 15 years ago. My brain finally understood what I knew all along; diets deplete willpower, make you fat, unhealthy and unhappy.

Instead of dieting, I’ve been doing the obvious — eat what I want, when I want it, in a balanced way. The results are as expected; better health and consistent weight for over a decade. No restrictions, no stress.

There are a lot of things in life that work the same way. Intellectually we understand a wide range of facts and theories; however, it can take decades before we can truly put that knowledge into practice. Why is that? I think there are many reasons. But one powerful reason is our ability to rationalize everything. We convince ourselves that it can’t be that easy.

But, it is.

Business practices are the same; there is a ton of common sense and wisdom around us but we choose to make things complicated, potentially out of fear. After all, it can’t be that easy, right?

Here’s an example of a business practice that makes total sense but that is hard to find in most working environments. For a bit of context, our team is small and distributed. We have team members in 6 different countries and time zones.

You know what’s complicated?

Trying to control people and their work.

You know what’s easy?

Providing total freedom.

One of the wonderful things about building a remote company is that you have to learn to reject the urge to control and micro manage people. Instead, you have to build real trust — trust that can be tested every day and not break.

Every team member at our company has the freedom to work from any place in the world; they can work when they feel most productive and take time off when they need it. We don’t count hours, we focus on results. That all sounds sweet and cuddly but it works. There is no fluff here. People do better work faster, feel productive and happier. Period.

You don’t need to hear that from Jason Fried to know it is true. You can intellectually understand it and know that it makes sense. In practice, it looks a bit like this: a team member called Juan types in your internal chat:

“Guys, I’m going to take a nap and come back later, I didn’t sleep well and have a headache..”

In a typical business setting, there would be some sort of freak out, some peers would get offended by Juan somehow being lazy and not pushing through the day, others will keep tabs for the next 1–1 session with Juan, and in other companies, Juan would get fired immediately.

It takes a lot of discipline to build a company where Juan can feel confident about the fact that he is doing the right thing for him and the company. It takes discipline but it is not complicated.

 

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