Culture Killers – False Empowerment

Let's paint a typical scenario that sets the stage. Other leadership has called for a meeting to discuss the "new policy" of the organization.

"In order to be competitive, we must radically change how we do business and figure out new ways to serve our customers better" bark manager on stage while going through 40-50 PowerPoint slides about why we need to change.

He continues to say that the only way we can accomplish this is the hard work and dedication of our staff. "Rah rah" continues for 15 minutes and eventually he or she says it's up to you to figure out how to meet the goals of this new strategy. They say: "You're the key to our success in the future and everyone has the power to make good business changes!"

For the most part, employees are excited about new policies and are worried to hear more from their managers. Managers get accolades from senior executives that "task teams" are created to attack these issues. They are looking for volunteers to participate in creating solutions in an assigned issue or problem.

You create a volunteer for a team where there is an area you know and you see it as an opportunity to show your talents to your boss and bosses. You also see it as an opportunity to drive a real change in the company and you are excited about it.

Your team is working hard on this task as well as performing your normal full-time job. The team's recommendations are drastic but based on substantive support and supported by facts. You put together the final exam and the team will have a good opportunity to present recommendations to senior executives. The presentation is very good, the team is excited and senior executives encourage you to work for you and work that is well done. They also tell you that they will review the suggestions more and will come back to you in the next few steps.

The team hears nothing for weeks. You push management for the next steps because everyone was excited about continuing with the recommendation and now some of those tensions are ready. Finally, you get words from another source that managers, although they appreciate all the work the team did, decided that recommendations were not really true as they wanted to go.

Is anyone this ring true based on your experience? This scenario can be a giant culturalist. Let's assess potential damage.

1. Employees believed that they were called to by the Commission (ie said they were chosen when they were not). This creates anger and distrust among senior executives.

2. Employees feel like their work was nothing for nothing and was not evaluated by management. They made sacrifices to be part of what they believed in and something they thought would be important.

3. Additional Confusion of Chief Executive Officers as it appears that they already have a policy for joining the team.

4. These members will not volunteer for another project for a long time or maybe never. If they are forced to be part of the team again, they will certainly not sacrifice or leave an external mile because their work has been thrown in the past.

5. They will review future projects as the last "taste of the month" that will not work and may adversely affect the attitude of new partners.

Now the big question is how to prevent this from happening. This responsibility rests entirely on senior executives. Here are some thoughts to consider if you are in the executive suite.

1. Get a clear understanding of your company and employee's mind before making decisions . It is important to fully assert the impact that the decision will have on employees. Will this decision incite workers? Will it climb the future creativity? Will it reduce employees from participating in other projects? The point is not that the decision should still be made, but the impact on employees should be discussed before making a decision and an action plan to address these issues should be available before the decision is sent.

2. Do not "empower" people unless you really do it . Managers need to take some risks when they strengthen because they do not want to control income. However, the risk can be minimized by setting the basic rules for the project, and the team can resolve solutions within the predefined guidelines. For example, the instructions might be: a) the solution must have a recovery time within two years; b) You can spend up to 500,000 on the problem; and c) you will be responsible for performing the solution and to show that a refund has been reached.

3. Celebrate Success – If you sponsor a team and deliver it within the guidelines you provide, reward those employees with recognition and financial benefits based on the benefits of the project. Communicate also success over and over to all employees by email, newsletters, corporate meetings, etc.

You need to show everyone who you've delivered in your word about "proxy" and that people are a prize for volunteers for tasks and delivery of solutions that benefit the company. This creates a new energy and positive word of mouth that should enhance future involvement in projects.

If done correctly, the true "intensity" of employees leads to happier and more hired workers. This reduces turnover, encourages risk factors, and adds creativity that leads to better operating performance.


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