[CI&T Learnings 5] Freedom: key to unlocking people's potential


You are going to read about:

  • Encourage freedom, autonomy, experimentation and entrepreneurship
  • To change, start with leadership
  • Learnings from our journey that can help your company overcome challenges


Leaders who are ready to give autonomy, stimulate experimentation and embrace the entrepreneurial spirit, drive the development of people and the evolution of teams towards generating impact with speed.

It is not new that more horizontal operating models, based on squads, or small multifunctional and autonomous teams, are the formula of digital companies to overcome challenges imposed by the fast changes in the new world and achieve effectiveness and agility in customer service. To have speed of response, teams need to be free to try new directions, to listen to the client and create solutions that suit the needs that are detected without requiring major intervention or leadership authorization.
However, this flexibility of operation and innovation are only possible in environments where there is a stimulus for the exchange of knowledge, the construction of collective intelligence, and each person is free to test, to learn, to develop their full potential. There is no way to create the new with speed without supporting the adoption of a more entrepreneurial vision, without allowing people to take risks, without giving them autonomy to experiment - which includes making mistakes in search of success.
However, with the numerous examples of the success of this format in the digital market and the extensive literature on it, many companies - still tied to hierarchical models, the so-called command and control - continue to find it very difficult to adopt it truly. After all, changing the perspective in relation to people management to an approach more focused on stimulating teams' collaboration, autonomy and freedom not only moves structural certainties and seems risky, but is also difficult to implement.

"With deeply ingrained command and control leadership, there is a clash between the new model and how things really work in everyday life. It is not possible to treat problems as opportunities in the search for continuous and fast improvement, nor to implement the collaborative format necessary for digital agility with a 'boss' imposing his modus operandi, giving orders from top to bottom and guiding teams to comply with individual goals."

Cesar Gon, CEO CI&T

It is certainly not easy to deconstruct a solid corporate structure - with silos and areas very well organized and divided - and to reinvent itself. But this is the urgency today. This is because in command and control environments, people do not feel entitled to contribute, to make suggestions in order to influence the final result. On the contrary, they try their best to follow orders and take no chances to fail. And this format kills innovation and agility.

"(In command and control format) While teams fly their models of cooperation and agility without silos, solving problems jointly and with short cycles of continuous improvement, the bosses look for ways to control the process and impose opinions."

Cesar Gon, CEO CI&T

To change, start with leadership

The need for companies is to bring about a true digital transformation that encompasses a profound change in culture. And this change must start with the leaders. And here, it is not just about changing management practices or processes, but really adopting a totally new mental model.

"Being a leader today means being with the teams, available to listen and lead. So, first of all, it is necessary to transform yourself as a human being, because whoever will command the establishment of a look focused on cooperation in the organization must adopt it first."

Gabriel Marostegam, CI&T Senior Manager Analytics

The role of leader needs to stop being who says what should be done, who always has the last word, and start to train people capable of creating new paths in the construction of the best solutions. At CI&T we call them the Lean leader. Based on the Lean management philosophy, which underpins our company, this leadership is responsible for stimulating the teams' autonomy and collaboration, in addition to inspiring and supporting the individual development of each person in search of continuous improvement.
To be a Lean leader, you need to uninstall the control habit and learn to work on the joint construction of solutions. In addition, it will be necessary to install some skills, such as learning to learn constantly, being open to collaboration, giving a voice to the people you lead and observing without judgment. And, above all, being available to your people, establishing transparent communication and developing empathy to consolidate relationships of trust.
This is the profile of a leader capable of creating safe and fertile environments for the installation and strengthening of high-performance teams, with high motivation, high potential for innovation, agile and fast. This is not an easy task, but it is quite possible. Here at CI&T, we have more than a decade of development of processes and methodologies that have been forming true Lean leaders in our operation and in our customers.
If you want to know more about how to prepare your leaders, access our paper here. In it, you will find information about our digital transformation model, Lean Digital, as well as cases, tools and practices that we use to unlock the potential of our leaders and support our customers in this challenge.
With this paper, we hope to help you and your company in its process of preparing leaders to create and support autonomous and agile teams and generate business impacts at scale. Come on, it's time to change your company! Access our CI&T Learnings platform!