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Want to get in control? Let go of control!


I have watched my wife struggle to get out of bed every single morning over the past 15 years. It's not pretty - I can tell you that. But it is her way of starting the day. It must be extremely annoying for her that with the first rays of sunlight - and sips of beer - I jump out of bed and start chatting away. Then again, I usually collapse after 8 P.M. while she gets energized at night. We have never tried to synchronize our routines. We have not tried to change one another or control the way things go. We have found a way of juggling between raising three children, working two demanding jobs, and enjoying our lives together to the fullest in the lovely city of Amsterdam. How we do this? By letting go. By going with the flow. (And by drinking beer from time to time. ?)

Maybe I am just a fool who listens to his gut feeling, but I genuinely believe that people who feel good deliver more value in less time. Therefore, I wonder why we continue to put employees in cubicles for 8 straight hours a day, feeding them hamburgers without vegetables for lunch (the tomatoes in their ketchup don't count). Why do we tell someone to be in the office at 8 A.M. if they are not a morning person? Similarly, why do we still have 80-page travel policies?

Travel programs have become so comprehensive that they are impossible to manage. With 10K people on the road and a team of less than 10 people in the office, you tend to try and get in control by setting some rules - probably in writing - because you want to help them. But it kind of feels like working for a government, doesn't it?

Of course, we want to take care of our co-workers and ensure that they live by such rules. But to feel free and happy, people need to make their own choices. This reminds me of a quote from Fred Kofman: "Freedom does not mean doing what you want without consequences; it means having the capacity to choose, in the face of a situation, the response that is most consistent with your values."

In my opinion, you should let go of control if you want to get in control. You need to leave enough room for people's personal values. So how about getting rid of long and boring travel policies? How about creating a set of values that your company believes in - and letting people make their own choices based on these? The only thing you require is trust, which encompasses a long-term relationship rather than an event-based, shallow connection - a reliance on the fact that jumping around the bed at 5 A.M. (and having an occasional apologetic beer) will not get you fired.

Roadmap, the 'all-in-one traveler app,' combines common sense with guidelines. And I promise that the results will positively surprise you. We want to help you take care of your travelers. We can connect them with you and guide them by sharing valuable information while they are on the road. And we recommend that you leave it up to them to decide how they use it. Employee happiness is all about freedom and trust - and according to our data, it results in cost control. That's a nice side effect, isn't it? So, let's confidently order one more beer...!