More structure or more mess?

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Do you prefer more structure or more freedom in your way of working? My co-workers know that I like structure, which I often create to help companies execute more effectively. But is structure always the answer?

Actually… sometimes it isn’t. Before you can benefit from structure, you first need to have a mess.

If I am creating a new business strategy, starting top-down with a structure can block my creativity. I can think of generic topics like “market trends”, “revenue model” and so on. It will create a nice table of contents. But it’s not helpful for filling the plan, since it provides no pointers to what is relevant and what is not.

When the structure is empty it adds no value. What is missing is all the details of the business, like product ideas, market segments, customer needs, etc.

These details come from experimenting, trying new things, and getting input from customers. The result is lots of ideas going in many directions. This “mess” creates energy and action.

Only then it useful to create a structure. Now you can relate different elements to each other and decide what is relevant or not. The structure can help channel the energy and action in the most useful direction.

So… depending on where you are, ask yourself: do I need more structure or more mess?

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