164 Slices
Medium 9781576751602

CHAPTER 8: Key #3: Let Teams Take on More of the Hierarchical Roles

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

During the discouragement stage of changing to empowerment, people may feel very alone, seemingly unaware that others all around them are experiencing the same concerns. Some of the issues and questions that will be going through their minds are as follows:

It is interesting to note that everyone experiences many of these same feelings, although each person thinks he or she is alone in the disillusionment. Unfortunately, the voices that tend to be heard most often during this stage are the voices of those with negative attitudes about the change to empowerment. The valley of discouragement is deep and the sides of the valley are steep. Sometimes it is hard to see how to get out, and this uncertainty applies to both team members and leaders. The solution lies with the team members and leaders, but in changing to empowerment people tend to have many questions about how teams can help.

In one company in the information services industry, the teams made a conscious effort to identify the talents of each team member. They called it a team assets inventory, and the result was made public to all team members. Then when issues arose that related to a particular expertise, the appropriate person was encouraged by the team leader to take a leadership role in working on that issue. The team members were reluctant to use their talents until others on the team began to add their words of encouragement. With the stage set for sharing leadership, more and more team members began to recognize when they could make a contribution and began to step forward, sometimes with ideas or suggestions and at other times simply with words of encouragement and praise for others.

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Medium 9781576754689

Accentuating the Positive to Help People Win

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Later that morning the author knocked on the door of Herb’s office. Herb obviously knew in advance that the author was coming, because he looked up and said, “I understand you like to catch people doing things right.”

“I certainly do,” replied the author. “I love the entrepreneur’s idea that to really learn how to do something, you have to be willing to be coached and study under a master. But I feel the follow-up system he got from his father—tell me, show me, let me, correct me, et cetera—doesn’t accentuate the positive. He told me you confronted him on the lack of support and the learning system you use in the company now includes catching people doing things right. I’d be interested in learning about that.”

“Be happy to share what we’re doing,” said Herb. “First, let me give you a little background. We hire two kinds of people: winners and potential winners. Winners are people who are already experienced in what we have hired them to do and have a good performance track record.”

“They don’t need much help, do they?” guessed the author.

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Medium 9781605093482

Chapter Two The Bedtime Waltz: Establishing a Bedtime Routine

Blanchard, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

THE NEXT MORNING at SeaWorld, the staff and the three trainees gathered at poolside for a demonstration by Clint Jordan, the park curator and head trainer. He began with a warm greeting to the three newcomers. “The staff and I want you to know you are very welcome in our training program.” Cheers and whistles broke out from the group of trainers. “Each of you,” Clint went on, “has survived a rigorous interview and background-checking process to ensure that you are in the right place. I needn’t tell you that you are entering into a job that many people would love to have. In the entire world, only a handful get this opportunity. In fact, there are more astronauts than killer whale trainers.

“Let’s talk about safety,” said Clint. “There is an element of risk in working with these animals, especially with new people they don’t know. Killer whales are the top predators in the ocean. Adult whales can reach lengths of eighteen to twenty-three feet and weigh up to twelve thousand pounds. We have guidelines and emergency procedures in case someone were to jump or fall into the pool with the whales. In our shows we have safety guidelines for the public and for our training staff. It’s imperative that you follow instructions carefully as you get to know these animals.

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Medium 9781609943035

An Unexpected Loss

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

“You can be a leader.” The words had ricocheted through Blake’s mind countless times since his father had said them. In part, because he had long had doubts about his ability to lead; also because they were the last words his father ever said to him. The next day, Jeff Brown died of a heart attack.

It had all been so unexpected, as heart attacks usually are, but in this case even more so. His dad had been in great physical shape. He’d eaten the right foods, gotten plenty of rest, and exercised three to four times per week. He and Blake had just returned from the ski trip of a lifetime. No one, especially Blake, had been prepared for Jeff’s death.

A month after his father’s funeral, Blake was sitting in the university library, struggling not only with his father’s death but also with the idea that he could be a leader. Had his father been blinded by his love for his only son? Was this just another example of his dad’s eternal optimism? Or perhaps—the scariest possibility of all—could it be true? Maybe Blake could be a leader. There were so many questions Blake wanted to ask his dad. And now, he couldn’t.

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Medium 9781576751534

Give Everyone the Information to Act

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

MICHAEL ARRIVED early the next morning, hoping that Elizabeth could show him more about how empowerment worked and that it really gets results.

As he reached the Fulfillment Area, Michael was greeted by a tall, energetic woman. “Hi. I’m Elizabeth Meadows, and this is the area my associates and I own.”

“What do you mean, you own it?” Michael asked.

“I mean,” smiled Elizabeth, “we have all the information we need to make any important decision that has to be made to serve our customers, ensure quality of the products we sell, and make a profit for our company.”

“Maybe that explains what happened when I was walking down here to meet you this morning,” Michael said. “I overheard one of the fulfillment people telling someone on the phone that the missing items would be replaced at no cost and sent overnight to arrive tomorrow. Frankly, I was amazed. People in fulfillment don’t usually have the authority to make that kind of decision.”

Elizabeth, who had been peering at Michael as she listened, said, “Right. But people in fulfillment who have information can take on the responsibility for that kind of decision and know that it won’t hurt the company. In fact, with information they would know just what dividends such excellent customer service will pay in the future. They can weigh the cost against the benefit of replacing the item at no cost.”

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