FOWLER: Harnessing the power of empowerment | Local News


“Positive people get positive results because they are not afraid of problems.” – Ken Blanchard

How do the best run businesses beat their competition day in and day out? With a workforce that is enthusiastic about their vision and motivated to serve their customers to the next level. According to Ken Blanchard, the only way to achieve this level of performance is to empower your staff.

In Ken’s ledger, “Leading at a Higher Level,” he lays out four keys to highly effective leadership. They are:

– Set your sights on the right targets and the right vision.

– Treat your people well.

– Treat customers properly.

– Have the right kind of leadership.

Once leadership creates clarity with the right targets and the right vision, they need to engage and empower their employees.

Empowerment is about engaging the hearts and hands of your employees in the pursuit of the company’s vision. Blanchard exposes three keys to high performance through empowerment. The keys are shared information, autonomy across borders and self-directed teams and individuals.

Shared information

Throughout history, information has been accumulated as a means of protecting and preserving power. Empowering organizations share information to engage the hearts and minds of their people in the pursuit of the vision.

Smart leaders know they can accomplish so much more when they call on the intelligence of the team. Smart leaders accept the truth that “none of us are as smart as all of us”. Shared data creates a sense of trust and shared responsibility across the organization.

Sharing information well will require education so that the team can understand the information and use it to solve problems while pursuing the vision. Many short-sighted leaders feel that the education process is taking too long. This investment of time has a huge return on investment because it creates organizational learning.

Large organizations grow by learning and sharing their knowledge. Growth is impossible without learning and learning is impossible without the right information.

Autonomy across borders

Leaders need to set boundaries while empowering their people. Think of boundaries as the lines of a tennis court. They help players score points and improve their game. Empowerment requires more structure, not less. This is an initial investment of time on the part of the manager which leads to better results and time savings in the future.

For example, the Ritz Carlton is notorious for giving its employees $ 2,000 to solve guest problems. Employees of the Ritz Carlton are allowed to spend this amount on the spot, without the manager’s approval to make a guest happy.

Educating employees on how to do it right takes time, but results in happier, more loyal customers and less manager involvement. Blanchard shares how Kentucky Fried Chicken liked the idea so much that they gave employees the same mandate to make customers happy, but with a budget of $ 10.

Could policies like these end terribly? Absolutely – when done without great training and aftercare. Training is the key. The same goes for reviewing the results and learning what it feels like to spend money wisely and when it is wasted. Ultimately, employees become more engaged and empowered. This leads them to make better business decisions. Better business decisions made at lower levels of the organization translate into better bottom lines.

Replace the hierarchy with self-managed teams and individuals

When team members have the clarity created by the right targets and an inspiring vision and have the power to make good decisions within limits, an amazing thing begins to happen.

There is less and less need for team members to manage. Team members and their teams are becoming more and more autonomous.

Why? Because for the first time, they have a clear view of the organization’s goals, they have the information they need to make good decisions, and they have been given the authority to make those decisions within clear boundaries.

“Situational Leadership” is a great Blanchard tool that managers can use to determine the right style of leadership for the various situations they encounter in the workplace. We will present the Situational Leadership Framework next week.

We love helping leaders build great businesses, and we have some great free resources for you in our Resource Library. You can check them out: or call us at (229) 244-1559. We would be happy to help you in any way we can.

Curt Fowler is President of Fowler & Company and Director of Fowler, Holley, Rambo & Stalvey.

Curt and the team at FHRS help executives build great businesses through virtual CFO, strategy, tax and accounting services.

Curt is a business writer, keynote speaker, and business advisor. He holds an MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the Kellogg School, is a CPA, and a pretty good guy as defined by his wife and five children. (Welcome Baby Owen – June 2021!)

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