Chapter Seven

Principles of Radical Decentralization

Only if a decision would substantially damage the organization is the manager entitled to intervene. In aviation, the trainer allows the pilot to get it wrong provided that the mistake will not crash the plane. It is the only way the trainee will learn to fly alone.1

CHARLES HANDY

Effective empowerment is the product of freedom multiplied by capability. As with any mathematical equation, if one of the variables is zero, the result will also be zero. This explains why so many attempts at empowerment fail. Few leaders seem capable of supporting both variables at the same time. This is what distinguishes leaders at firms such as Ahlsell, Leyland Trucks, and Handelsbanken from the rest of the ...

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