Balancing Flow And Structure

hurricanetpsdavepixabayIn nature, chaos and order coexist. Flow and structure can also coexist, if you manage them wisely. In our hierarchical systems, specific goals and corresponding measures tend to rule. At the same time, it is recognized that innovation flows from creativity and freedom.

How do you reconcile and balance these approaches? I have found that flow can exist within a flexible structure. Overall aims and goals are necessary, with deadlines. Once they are established, I move into flow, measuring productivity each day and progress towards goals. There is open space within each day for insights, new ideas and constructive collaboration. This requires a level of comfort with uncertainty, the ability to change course and letting go of limiting structures.

Do you lean more towards flow or structure? Do you see them as incompatible? How can you balance flow and structure for maximum productivity and the best results?


photo: tpsdave,


flexibletheekgpgrouppixabayWhen something is rigid, it may be strong, but it also may break easily. In your managing, being rigid can give the illusion of structure trumping change. However change is constant and must be provided for, almost on a daily basis. How rigid is your management style?

What balance between rigidity and flexibility is right for you? How do you maintain enough structure to keep things going, but still have enough flexibility to factor in change?


photo: theekgpgroup,

Free Flow Management 2 – Letting Go Of Structure

Free Flow Management (see previous blog post) creates freedom for your team, encouraging innovation and the flow of ideas. Key to Free Flow Management is letting go of structure, at least for a while. We have plenty of structure within organizations, but not a lot of freedom. To make room for freedom, some structure has to go.

Freedom and structure can coexist. Are you comfortable with that? Our hierarchical systems have made structure and order primary, often to the exclusion of flexibility and freedom. Structure can be rebalanced with freedom, with great results. As a manager, you may have to get comfortable with a bit of what you perceive as disorder. That very disorder can create freedom.

In your mind now, create an art canvas representing how you manage. Use one color for structure and one for freedom. Fill your canvas with the amount of each color that represents the current balance between structure and freedom for your team. What predominates? Then, create a canvas of what you think is a good balance between the two for you and your team.

What new directions can you take with the balance of structure and freedom that will increase free flow management of your team?

photo: Simon Howden,