We enable organisations and individuals to develop and grow, achieve results and enjoy what they do.

Autonomy Australian Style

Most of living (and working) on this big beautiful island can relate to swimming between the flags at the beach.

We know that if we are within the flags, the lifeguards are watching, and we are safe.  We can do whatever we want in the water without breaking any common laws.  We are having safe fun.

When we are young or inexperienced, we need the flags to be pretty close together.  Then, as we grow in confidence and capability, we can swim in a bigger surf with the flags further apart.

All the while, the lifeguards keep an eye on all the other factors that we are not.  The weather coming over the horizon, communications from Life Saving on broader conditions,  feedback from the chopper on any shark activity.

What happens if the flags are too close together?

It feels restrictive.  We want to go outside and explore.  It is crowded, boring, perhaps we leave that beach and go to another one.

It all gets pretty hard for everyone, no one is having fun, and no one is as safe as they could be.

If the lifeguards can take a step back and trust those in the water, move the flags out a bit but not take them away, the swimmers will feel trusted and get back to having fun (doing their job).

As leaders, let’s ask ourselves, “can I move the flags out a bit here” is there room for some autonomy in our new way of working.

Ask yourself:

  • Can my staff swim?  (capability)
  • Can they handle a bit more space to have fun and do their job?  (autonomy)
  • Can they take more options to be creative?  (creativity)
  • Can they survive being dumped by a slightly bigger wave (make a mistake)?

Most of the people I speak to are ready for their flags to be moved out.

Leaders out there, dare and give it a go.

If you want to discuss how to do this safely, drop us a line.


To learn more, why don’t you give us a call on 1300 181 211 and see how we can help you.