All Articles Leadership Management VIP Corner: Brian Robertson, on how riding a bike is like managing a business

VIP Corner: Brian Robertson, on how riding a bike is like managing a business

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SmartBrief is partnering with Big Think to create a weekly video spotlight in SmartBrief on Leadership called “VIP Corner: Video Insights Powered by Big Think.” This week, we’re featuring Brian Robertson, a partner at HolacracyOne.

There’s a difference between predicting how you’d ride a bike and actually successfully riding the bike — and that concept should be taken into account when managing a modern-day company, said Brian Robertson, an entrepreneur and partner at HolacracyOne.

In the past, companies traditionally operated on a “predict-and-control” model — that is, planning out how exactly to ride a bike — which may have worked in a flatter business environment. In today’s fast-paced global economy, however, that sort of static thinking may not play out too well. A better approach, Robertson argued, is the “sense-and-respond” method, or to follow the metaphor: Just get on the bike.

“We have to stay present in the moment, eyes open, take in data continually, and steering becomes something we do every moment of the journey, not once upfront. We are present, conscious, aware, and we are in flow responding to reality through our whole system. We make minor course corrections constantly in every muscle in our body,” Robertson said.

To stay dynamic enough to be able to sense and respond to changes, businesses have to trust the humans within — the living, breathing organisms that make the company run like clockwork every day, Robertson noted. Embracing the humanity of your business means creating support systems that enable those within the organization to easily sense reality and react accordingly to create meaningful change.

“We need a new way of controlling and governing the organization, a way that gives us a lot more real control than illusion of control, which is typically what happens when we try a predict-and-control approach,” Robertson said.

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