Freedom of choice

I’m a lucky guy, sure I make my own luck but I say this in the context of the opportunities I have, the choices I am privileged to make.

In the workplace, the employee engagement numbers below resonate with me and in regards to the 15% of people engaged in their work, I have bounced from one side of the ledger to the other during my career.

Ultimately when all the goodwill is gone and the bank of trust is depleted, I thankfully have had the freedom to choose, escape and beat a new drum.

This may sound selfish, but I am human and have a deeper desire to change the landscape for everyone involved, hence the appetite for being more effective and bringing out the best in people, employers, employees and myself.

Bottom line, working and flourishing in rich adult to adult relationships where we trust each other to do the right thing for the company, each other and others. (internal and external to our system)

Seems logical and simple enough, but our systems are so ingrained in producing the employee engagement numbers above and efforts to change are fleeting, non-existent or mis-guided.

The glass is half full though, there are many many examples that would dis-prove those sentiments, well the glass is 15% full…so what can we do?

Talking 15%, one the Liberating Structures is 15% Solutions ( , I love this, because it gets you and/or your team to discover and focus on what each person has the freedom and resources to do now.

15% Solutions show that there is no reason to wait around, feel powerless, or fearful. They help people pick it up a level. They get individuals and the group to focus on what is within their discretion instead of what they cannot change. With a very simple question, you can flip the conversation to what can be done and find solutions to big problems that are often distributed widely in places not known in advance. Shifting a few grains of sand may trigger a landslide and change the whole landscape.

Your level of influence and power would impact what your 15% looks like compared to someone else with less influence and power, but ultimately there is something that each and everyone of us can do, it may be less than ‘15%’, that’s fine, a new thought a new action…sounds like a pretty cool movement, our goal to shift the engagement numbers for ourselves for our employees, the people we manage.

Where can we start? A good place is from people who have done it, why re-invent the wheel, it’s not about copying a framework or cookie cutter approach, it’s about learning and adapting and there are many many resources available (see below for some I recommend)

So for example, the motivation to reflect and write this piece, just came from reading ‘Stories About Self-Managing Organisations from Sweden — Moose Heads on the Table’ by Karen Tenelius & Lisa Gill.

The book includes the following from Miki Kashtan (Leadermorphosis podcast — outlining the five core structural systems to align with your purpose and values to become more self-managing.

Which I believe will help shift the employee engagement, so what 15% shift can we make in 2021, what freedom of choice do we have now?

Decision-making systems:
Who makes which decisions? Using what process? Who else is included? Who finds out the result?

Resource flow system:
Where do the resources come from and how do they get distributed? i.e. budgets, pay, human power etc.)

Information flow system:
How does information flow around the system?

Feedback loops:
How do we receive regular feedback information about the impact on others of our choices? Who gives feedback to whom, when, and for what specific purpose?

Conflict engagement system:
What set of agreements does the group make about what to do when there’s conflict? Do these agreements support learning and reinforce values?

Start making incremental change, looping through your 15% Solutions right now, experiment, learn, adapt and repeat.

The other recent read which has inspired me and can provide many practical pathways to explore is ‘Lead Together — The Bold, Brave, Intentional Path to Scaling Your Business’ by Brent Low, Susan Basterfield and Travis Marsh. — teaches you key principles and proven methods to transform top-down leadership into dynamic human systems of shared responsibility and accountability, through the concepts of self-organising and self-management.

If your in that 15% of engaged employees and/or employers, I would love to hear from you. If your in the current majority, same deal, would love to connect and see what is possible, help you make some new choices, craft an experiment or hear about your 15% Solutions.

Our Reinventing Work Adelaide meetup ( kicks off again in February 2021, it’s a great place to share and learn and our intent is to make the world a better place to live and work.

Please join the conversation on Slack

Francesco 🙏

Additional resources:



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