What 2As are key ingredients to more innovation, greater flexibility, better engagement and increased performance?
Autonomy + Alignment.
Autonomy is achieved by less micromanaging. So giving people more freedom and power to make decisions, where responsibility is delegated along with task. Think less rules, red-tape and sign-off steps and more frameworks and guidelines to support people.
Alignment is achieved through having a crystal clear purpose, vision, values and really really good goals and objectives to focus people's time, attention and effort in the short-term. I'm a huge fan of OKRs to help translate the big fuzzy, into tangible objectives, whilst still allowing freedom around how it's achieved.
How do you know you're succeeding in striking a good balance between autonomy and alignment? When you ask someone "What are you working on and why" they don't answer because my manager said so! Hopefully you'll get a response more along the lines of why they think it's important, and the value it has.
Henrik Kniberg brings this to life best when he spoke about Spotify's engineering culture. These graphics illustrate the concept really well: