As you solve each problem that surfaces in your business or personal life, take the time to ask, “Is there a better way to do this?” Great teams and leaders are constantly innovating, improving their systems, and inventing new ways to do things better.
With the advent of high-speed networks and wireless connected devices, there is now more data and information available than ever before. No longer is gaining access and analyzing information the choke point to innovation; instead the stranglehold is an organization’s structure.
The consulting firm Great Place to Work recently published a research paper that defines how organizations will need to adapt to the coming explosion of connected devices and the data and analyses that will flow through them.
Their suggestion is simple: get everyone innovating! Unfortunately, the researchers could identify few examples of companies that were empowering their teams to make those changes.
How do you think these organizations can get everyone to participate in innovation? How do they, as the report puts it, “maximize a company’s human potential by tapping into the intelligence, skills, and passion of everyone in the organization”?
They do it by building relationships with their employees in which trust, direction, respect, and empowerment aren’t optional but mandatory. Great Place to Work calls this ideal innovation by all. I call it empowerment.
A revealing example of empowerment can be found in General Stanley McChrystal’s book Team of Teams. In recounting his growth as a leader, he refers to “his day of reckoning”—the day he realized he was the choke point for his team.
He was holding them back because the system he operated in required his leaders to seek his approval before making a mission decision. He overcame it by empowering his team leaders with the responsibility and authority to make decisions.
In much the same way that McChrystal grappled with a decentralized, empowered, and well-armed enemy, today’s corporations deal with similar challenges. Enemies are called competitors and are mostly the small, empowered, and highly-skilled startups that are redefining the business landscape.
Empowerment isn’t reserved for just making decisions. The dizzying pace of innovation has caused organizations to rethink how to embrace change and innovate faster. Here are Three Sure-Fire Ways to Empower Your Team to help them achieve their highest potential.
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