Performance Management Company Blog

Ideas on People and Performance, Team Building, Motivation and Innovation

Tag: roadblock management

Empowerment, disempowerment, un-empowerment, and Dis-UN-empowerment

I’ve been playing with the notion of empowerment for a long time. Heck, my first speech on this concept at an international conference was in 1995 or so… People talk about empowering others, like they could make the choice and pull people around on strings or something. Well, it just isn’t that easy.

Pulling the strings to empower someone

So, I learned how to do a simple thing with a really funny name that works pretty well. Let me explain…

Many if not most organizations have talked about “empowerment” as a motivator. They embed the word into their mission statements. They talk as if they can actually accomplish this and implement improvement and change simply by “empowering our people.”

Sorry, but most people are UN-empowered. Statistics show that maybe 30% of employees are actually engaged, defined as being actively and emotionally involved with their work and the company. It is obvious that the situation should be emproved (intentional spelling error).

(I posted up a solid article on ideas for engaging the unengaged here)

The good thing is that it is EASY to talk about empowering others. But go ahead– EMPOWER ME TO DO SOMETHING. ANYTHING. You just cannot do it. It is not your choice and you have no influence on me. One person cannot empower another. (Heck, I did have two teenagers years ago — I was going to say “different teenagers” but I realize that the phrase is redundant).

So, leaping toward the actionable and intuitively non-obvious reality, I proposed that one of the roles of any manager — and one of the things that they can do and that has a wide variety of positive impacts on people and performance — is to do something I call:

Dis-Un-Empowerment

If so many are un-empowered, what actions of a manager might serve to remove or modify that situation so as to remove those things that people think or choose to allow to get in the way of them acting empowered?

My approach is to focus on Roadblock Management. Identify the different kinds of roadblocks so as to enable people to use APPROPRIATE strategies to deal with them.

You can find a pretty simple explanation of my approach to this on my informational website: http://www.squarewheels.com/scottswriting/roadblocks.html

You can find a simple toolkit with the resources and powerpoints and all that at:
http://www.performancemanagementcompany.com

Have FUN out there, dis-un-engaging people and feeling the benefits of a more involved and engaged workplace.

 

Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant. 
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott atscott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/

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Involving and Engaging, Consensus, and Dot-Voting for Facilitating Engagement

Guess I got into a “writing mode” today, since I was on one of the LinkedIn discussions again and generated a lengthy response to that same issue of followup on brainstorming to get things implemented.

What I shared were some ideas on building consensus. What the heck, here is what I wrote:

I like Ger’s “Silent Consensus” approach. Funny, though, in that I cannot imagine ME being that silent for that long!!

I do a similar thing with “Dot Voting,” where I give each person 3 or 4 (depending on group size) colored sticky dots and have them vote on pasted up easel pad sheets of an issue (and later, some ideas for resolving that issue). So, each person has three Red Dots, for example, and they are to vote their dots (all 3 on one, one on each of three, whatever) for the Most Important Issue, say. The only rule is that they cannot vote on their own work.

We might then vote with three Yellow Dots on those issues that are “the most political or culturally difficult” or some such framework.

We might vote Green Dots on the issues that have the Most Profit Potential or Blue Dots on those that are The Most Important. My only strategy is to use different dots and have the color be somewhat meaningful in a natural way. The categories might be anything.

My session focuses are generally on innovation (Square Wheels as how things are and Round Wheels as to ideas for improvement) or on teamwork and collaboration or leadership or motivation.

I do an exercise on Roadblock Management where I focus on Dis-Un-Empowerment (article here) — identifying the different roadblocks that might exist knowing that the top performers are roadblocked less and use different strategies for dealing with them than those used by below-average performers. (Note: remember that half the people in the group will actually be “below average performers” – technically it is “median” but average is the common vernacular.)

One can use colored dot voting for identifying the Main Most Difficult Structural Roadblocks (red ones) down to the ones that people (mistakenly) believe to get in the way of action (pink dots).

It is the same basic idea as Ger’s. I just use a technique of “anonymous forced browsing” and add it to my consensus-building work. Visually, one sees which ones get votes and which ones do not get much support. Thus, One Person’s Main Bug will show itself as “not too important to the whole group” if it gets few or no votes. That (negative) peer pressure is useful in moving things more midstream…

My technique also forces everyone to participate in the voting.

After all, “Nobody ever washes a rental car,” and getting people involved and engaged is a main theme of really helping ideas get implemented and acted upon.

Hooray for Ownership! The more the merrier.

——-

The Dot-Voting or Multi-Voting technique is simple, flexible and easily used — and it works seamlessly.

It is fast and something that I sometimes use as part of the group break – they can head out immediately if they need to and vote on their return or they can vote and then get coffee or whatever. You generate some forced browsing of more than their own ideas, which helps build some shared ownership of issues and opportunities. All one needs is a list from each tabletop that requires some reaction from the participants. It really helps alignment, too.

 

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games Scott small picand organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.

 
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on themes of People and Performance is here.

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company

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