Empowering Your Team

We have all heard, many times, how important it is to have an empowered team. I believe having empowered people is absolutely crucial to the success of any business.

So how do you achieve it, how do you get an empowered team? First you have to recruit motivated people. I once heard Genn Sather being interviewed and he was asked how he was able to consistently motivate all the young players the Edmonton Oilers had during their dynasty to achieve such great things. His response changed my outlook on recruiting. He said “I can’t motivate anyone. I seek out motivated players and then give them the tools to allow them to excel at their job.” So the first component of having an empowered team is to have people who are motivated to succeed. The second step is incredibly simple but takes tremendous discipline to execute. You must push decision making down as close to the front lines as possible. Team members interacting with customers must know they have the ability and responsibility to make decisions. To achieve this they must know the criteria for making these decisions. I have used the following simple formula with tremendous success in many businesses. Every decision must be measured with three simple criteria: Is it in the customer’s best interest, is it in the team member’s best interest and is it in the company’s best interest? If the answer to all three is yes then do it. If the answer to any one of the three is no, then you don’t have the right answer yet and if you are not sure then go to another level of management to get help. Knowing they have the power and responsibility to make decisions with these three criteria is the basis for having an empowered team.

The other critical component to empowerment is that your team members must have the three necessary components to make any employee happy, and secure. I will discuss those on Monday.