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The Control / Influence tradeoff

Have you ever seen an organisation that is overwhelmed because its senior leadership need to sign off every decision?

This is a common growth issue, and its less well-known side-effect is loss of influence.

As organisations grow, their ability to build and maintain external relationships – for example with customers – reduces relative to their need to sustain internal relationships. In other words, they become more internally focused. The ratio of external relationships to internal relationships decreases.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you are prepared to “empower the periphery” of your organisation and your external stakeholders by delegating all but core functions, your capacity to engage externally can increase as you scale up.

Being a hub-and-spoke organisation is great for command and control, while delegating and devolving authority increases capacity, resilience and, often, quality.