In my first blog about Empowerment, “Does true Empowerment exist?" I spoke about Empowerment and the confusion the word/concept was creating. I also linked to a couple of sources that explained what Empowerment is, here is what Forbes says: Click Here.Over the next 12 months I will take you through our Empowerment journey and in this blog, I will give you an insight to what Empowerment means for Enavate.
It starts with a Why, that is how Simon Sinek frames it in his amazing concept. In Kelly Charlton’s blog “To us, it’s personal”, she takes you through our Why journey which we have very clearly defined:
We transform businesses and the lives they touch. To us, it’s personal
So how do we transform businesses and our team members and customers? We do it through our unmatched compassion for the people, living our core values and boundaries to its full and finally making a difference through 100% true empowerment.
I really like the way that Ken Blanchard defines Empowerment “Release the knowledge, experience, and motivational power that people already have but underutilize”. This is why Empowerment can be the most powerful tool or concept. Imagine having everyone in the organization do 10% better. How much would that help all the team members, the customers, the company and the future?
Michele Herrera, our great Global HR Leader and I discussed what we should do next.
We asked our team members for volunteers to be a part of our Empowerment Tiger Team
Our Tiger Team was made up of a diverse group including team members from different countries, different roles and different generations. We wanted to make sure we touched all facets of our amazing diverse.
The team met in Denver for several days to discuss what Empowerment means to us and how we were going to roll out the program. What are the risk, where are the pitfalls, how would different regions react to this and how long will this take?
So, what does Empowerment mean to Enavate?
EMPOWERMENT – Our culture of sharing Information, Responsibility, and Rewards with everyone providing greater ability to impact the business and lives
To break this down further:
- More Information: By being very transparent and provide all company information, the team members will be able to make better and faster decisions. It will also build trust between our team members and the company and amongst the team members since everyone will have the same information about the company performance and plans.
- More Responsibility: With all this shared information the team will instinctively take on more responsibility. The team will have the autonomy within boundaries to make their own decisions. This will make the team stronger and create better, more efficient team work.
- More Rewards: First, we are going to invite all our team members to become shareholders of Enavate. I guess you can’t really act with true ownership, if you don’t own a part of the company. This ownership combined with the responsibility and the team mindset where the customer is also a part of the team will create loyalty between the teams and the company. A career and financially rewarding environment.
Prior to the workshop we had, all the tiger team members were asked to do some research on Empowerment. Each team member also had the task to read Ken Blanchard’s book “The 3 keys to Empowerment”.
It was important that each of them had a basic understanding of the concept. Our first exercise was to have each person write on a flip chart what they have learned, what was the most important lesson, what risks, etc. Then we took all of this great insight and used it for our discussion on what Empowerment means to Enavate.
It was actually very interesting to see the development over the days. When we first started, I could sense that the team was concerned about if we could create the definition, the plan and the presentation that we were going to share the day after the workshop. We had already invited all North American based team members to a kick off meeting in the Denver office. A lot of pressure.
This is what I love about our team: they always come up with magic. I was excused for a couple of hours and when I came back, they had it all nailed down, on the first day! Amazing job!
At the kick off meeting, in each office, my part was to kick off the Empowerment journey. I asked all of the team members to stand on one side of the room. Then I asked all team members who currently make decisions to walk to the other side of the room. I was surprised to see 70-80% moving to the “decision” side of the room. Then I asked all on that side, to walk back if they were not making “important” decisions. Only a few people walked back to the non-decision-making team. The important decision-making team was asked to sit down and then I started asking the non-decision-making team questions. Pointing at individuals, I asked “Are you married? Do you have kids? Have you bought a house? Did you go to a university?” and so forth. Now people understood, that we all make life changing decisions.
For some reason when most people come to work, they stop making decisions. Why is that? Are they stupid? (Sorry HR, they told me that I couldn’t say that) But I think it is a fair question, and I am not afraid to ask that question to our team members since I know they are the smartest people I have ever worked with. Is it because their bosses are from hell? Are they uncomfortable in a decision-making role? Or are we not letting them make decisions, etc?
I then shared a good old-fashioned org. chart which was invented several hundred years ago. It is interesting to see in today’s world that while businesses are actually working in a more advanced society, we still live in our organizational boxes (a hierarchical organization). Wonder why so many don’t think outside the box.
So, what if we could create a company without bosses, a company with a new, refreshing organizational structure, a company where you are invited to make decisions all the time?
That is what we are going to do!
There are three keys to Empowerment and in my next three blogs, I will take you through each key.
Look out for my next blog Mid-April. Until then, make some decisions…..
About the Author - Thomas Ajspur