Tag Archive: empowerment

Do You Have Empowered Teams?

May 4th, 2017
empowered teams

Making sure customers have the best service sometimes means loosening the reins and giving employees more freedom to make on-the-spot decisions.

Lately, there has been a common theme at seemingly unrelated events — the importance of employee engagement and empowerment. Just in the last several weeks, it has come up at the Drucker Supply Chain Forum, the Harvey Mudd executive panel event, and at the CEO Summit.

Do you have empowered teams? Or do you just think you do? In thinking about empowered teams, we can ask a few pointed questions:

1. Do you communicate the importance of employees acting in the best interest of the customer? Do your teams understand what they are able to do to satisfy a customer?

2. If an employee makes a decision within reason of the guidelines you set and with the “right” end goal (whether or not it is the way you would have made the decision), do you pat them on the back?

3. Would your team members ever cite policies and procedures to internal or external customers as a reason something cannot happen if pressed for an answer? How do you think it makes your customers feel?

4. Can your teams spend money to satisfy a customer? How much is too much?

 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to strengthen your Eagle Eye:

Do You Really Support Empowerment?  

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Do You Really Support Empowerment?

March 28th, 2017
empowerment

To be an effective leader oftentimes means empowering employees to make changes and decisions to help customers even if those decisions don’t align with yours.

The 80/20 of business success stems directly from leadership. The best leaders can make even the worst-performing teams excel and, unfortunately, the weakest leaders can drag down even the best of teams. A few questions to ponder include:

1. Does your culture encourage empowerment? Regardless of what you say, do people believe they will be rewarded for empowering employees?

2. Do your managers jump to answer questions or give their employees a chance to shine?

3. Do you communicate empowerment but would get upset if your employee made an empowered decision that created a month-end shipping crisis?

4. Do your employees understand the guidelines within which they can make an empowered decision?

5. Are you willing to live with and vocally support an empowered decision that doesn’t align with how you would have handled the situation?

 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:

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Tour of Toyota and the Toyota Production System

February 27th, 2017

Earlier this week, I went on a tour of the Toyota North American Parts Center and had the opportunity to see the Toyota Production System techniques up close. It is always amazing to see that no matter how many millions are spent on technology (which I saw plenty of!), the key to success resides with the PEOPLE! That is one of the tenets of the Toyota Production System.

Toyota Production System

One tip to implement this week:

There is much that can be achieved rapidly in leveraging Toyota Production System techniques — no matter your industry or role. The idea is to capture the ideas of the people closest to the action — whether those interfacing with the customer, delivering to the customer, or producing quality parts on the line. And to empower them within reasonable guidelines for success. It sounds quite easy yet it rarely is achieved and sustained.

Start by putting together a group of colleagues to discuss improvement ideas. What can you do to make things easier and more successful for your customers? Can you add value without adding cost?  What could you do for your colleagues who receive your work product? Are there ways you can be more efficient and safe? Or can you add clarity and visibility into the process? Just brainstorm ideas. Next, you’ll pick one and get started.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”

 



Keys to Delegation Success

May 20th, 2016
delegation

With today’s high customer expectations for quick service, 24/7 accessibility and expanded services supply chain managers are increasingly overloaded. Delegation is key to meeting demands and working efficiently.

In today’s Amazon-impacted world, customers have higher expectations of rapid turnaround, 24/7 accessibility, and increased levels of service. These events have contributed to an information-overloaded society.

Not only do we receive countless emails, texts, social media messages, marketing messages and the like, but we also are expected to be able to make sense of it all and execute projects successfully – on-time, on budget and on results. A tall order to be sure!

Survival seems challenging enough, let alone thriving in these sorts of conditions. In taking a step back from the details, it becomes clear that we must employ tools to increase our chances of success. And, of course, we’d like to make the process easier and clearer along the way. One option to achieve these goals is to delegate. Those who properly delegate will have more time to focus on critical priorities while keeping details moving in the right direction. A few tips that will help ensure success include:

  1. Choose wisely– One of the keys to delegating successfully is to select the “right” tasks to delegate. Delegating away your strengths rarely achieves success, and it does nothing for morale. Typically, delegating your areas of weakness can be a good approach; however, it is vital to take a few precautionary steps. Gain expert advice in surrounding yourself with strong project team members and supporters. Leverage those strengths of your team members that happen to coincide with your weaknesses. Don’t waste time delegating “C” items. Ignore them. Every action requires effort. Focus your efforts on what’s most important. Delegate the next set of priorities as you’ll want to make sure those get accomplished. Think about “C” items when all else is done.
  2. Empower– Don’t throw around the word empowerment lightly. It is the rare project manager who knows how to empower his/her team. It means you must start by being a great leader. Provide guidelines. Collaborate on goals. Address the hard issues. Encourage team members to try new ideas. Support them in their failures. Take responsibility for the problems and share successes. Give your project team the ability to make decisions within their guidelines with full knowledge that they’ll be supported no matter the result. Soon, your team members will feel empowered. Once they are empowered, delegation becomes more of a collaborative affair.
  3. Diversity– There are many different tasks required to ensure a successful outcome for a project team. In order to leverage your team members’ individual strengths while minimizing their weaknesses, you’ll need a diverse set of skills and people. Thus, you’ll have a much better chance of success in delegating the diverse types of tasks required if you have a broad set of skills in your team with a wide array of backgrounds. This will also stimulate ideas and debate which can encourage empowerment so long as the leader supports experimentation.
  4. Core Metrics– Undoubtedly, no matter how effective you are in delegating, it will fall apart without core metrics in place. Work with your team to determine which critical milestones should be monitored. Develop leading metrics that will raise a red flag if the project is veering off-track. Put effort into making sure that the metrics selected will provide warnings in advance if needed. Don’t have too many metrics which become burdensome to track; instead, select the “right” few that will be indicators of success. Agree upon them with your team upfront.
  5. Provide training & mentoring– In addition to delegating assignments, it is imperative that you take the time to accompany that task with the proper training and experiences to go with it. Mentoring can be valuable as well. Mentoring provides an example of someone who has “been there, done that” who is also an expert who is available for advice. By providing mentoring and/or helping your project team members find mentors in their area of expertise, you have, in effect, purchased insurance for your delegation. As anyone who has even been in an accident knows, insurance becomes invaluable when you need it.

Delegating project tasks has become a must in today’s new normal business environment. No leader has enough time to “do it all himself”, and no leader has the broad and diverse set of expertise required to be the ideal resource to handle every task. Instead, delegation provides not only a way to make sure the project gets done on time but it also adds to the quality of the result by leveraging team members’ strengths for the collective good.

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