Thursday, 3 June 2010

The Power of DIY

We come across so many leadership teams that want their people to take more responsibility for their actions.  In order to achieve more as an organisation, to get to the next level, they have realised that everyone needs to be engaged, involved and taking a personal responsibility.  Sound familiar?
When we break this down it raises some interesting points.
  1. There is a recognition that leaders can’t transform an organisation by themselves
  2. They need to engage their workforce
  3. This means giving responsibility to the people that do the job
  4. Which means that there is a change in the way people are led and managed.  (The fulcrum around which this transformation revolves)
  5. People have to want to take responsibility
  6. Engagement is it is about people declaring their own outcomes, (linked to how they will support the outcomes of the business)not about giving them targets
  7. With everyone feeling they have control over what they do and are accountable for achieving their outcomes.

This process requires a subtle yet fundamental shift in control from telling people what to do – to people feeling accountable for their outputs; which is usually the stumbling block.  We hear lots of leadership and management rhetoric about empowerment and continue to witness management target-setting.  Managers want to tell people what to do because that’s what managers do.  Only when this switches to managers wanting to lead and relinquish command and control do people take responsibility. 
This doesn’t mean letting go and allowing people to do whatever they want - which would be a disaster.  If you want your people to take responsibility then you have to give them responsibility.  People feeling that they are accountable is the key. 
It’s like doing DIY.  The moment you decide to put up some shelves is when you take responsibility for your desired outcome.  At this point you take control and organise everything to do a great job.  At the end of half an hour of labour you are able to stand back and admire your priceless heirloom displayed on the shelf you put up. 
This is the feeling we are aiming at giving all our people. To do so requires a different way of thinking and managing.  It is a subtle change which will transform an organisation.

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