Welcome David Hall
Welcome David Hall to open PPL office in Hawkes Bay
August 4, 2021
Rethink webinar
Dr. Ganesh Nana, David O’Connor and Geerten Lengkeek in BDO’s Rethink Webinar
August 19, 2021
Welcome David Hall
Welcome David Hall to open PPL office in Hawkes Bay
August 4, 2021
Rethink webinar
Dr. Ganesh Nana, David O’Connor and Geerten Lengkeek in BDO’s Rethink Webinar
August 19, 2021
Show all

We are Loose and Tight, and why you should be too

loose and tight

In today’s knowledge and information society, successful organisations are adopting a culture and mindset that is both loose and tight. You should explore this contradiction for your business, as your future success depends on this.

In any organisation, you need to think deeply about what you should be tight about, what you should be loose about, and how to act accordingly. In Margaret Heffernan’s recent book “Uncharted – how uncertainty can power change”, the author describes how CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, has structured itself to get epic projects like the Large Hadron Collider off the ground. CERN is tight around the shared belief of ‘new knowledge for peaceful purposes’, compelling the creation of complex networks of expertise. But the development of the colliders and experiments is far too complex to be tight; this cannot be centralised and has been distributed across over eighty institutions globally.

Features of a loose culture include empowerment, trust, ideation, and a distributed organisational structure. Innovation and ownership thrive here. Features of a tight culture are team cohesion, an unwavering commitment to its purpose, and strong management systems and processes. Aligned, disciplined execution thrives here. Let’s be clear: you need both, don’t you?

At Productivity People, we are unapologetically tight about our purpose, our guiding principles, and our method. We work hard to keep it this way. But at the same time, we are loose in our adherence to a strict plan, because every business is different, each one is facing different external or internal challenges at that moment, and business models and business maturity vary. When interacting with clients, our team does not paint by numbers or cookie-cutters our clients towards industry leadership: it is the “lived experience” of our consultants in our loose framework that creates the outcomes the client needs at that moment, with the confidence that the methodology is grounded in tight expertise and science.

Each organisation will feature both loose and tight elements and are not singularly in one camp. And both tight and loose elements will have downsides that pose a risk to your organisation. All the more reason to define and drive this for your business, rather than let it evolve. Do you know what you need to be tight about and what you need to be loose about?

About the author: Geerten Lengkeek is the Managing Director of Productivity People.