If you don’t have systems, it’s impossible to have a team which consistently performs at a high standard. Instead, the best you can hope for is an enthusiastic rabble.
By themselves, “empowerment” and “initiative” are fancy words for chaos. And this is why…
Any organisation which relies on individuals to consistently come up with appropriate solutions is bound for failure … or, at the very least, recurring trouble.
Everybody has a bad day occasionally and so NO individual — no matter how keen or well-intentioned they might be — can get it right all the time.
But a system can.
A system takes the subjectivity out of the equation. A system means it doesn’t matter how enthusiastic, or positive, or “sharp” a team member might be feeling on a given day.
With a system at hand, anyone can produce a satisfactory result, despite anything they’re feeling, or anything else that’s going on.
Empowerment and initiative can’t do that.
Of course, there will be times when they’ll produce exceptionally good results — sometimes far better than that which could be produced by a system — but there will be just as many times when an individual’s ‘judgement call’ will result in a stuff up.
Having said that, don’t think for a minute that I don’t believe in and encourage independent thought.
But I believe — passionately — that any independent thought should be devoted to finding a better way, rather than ‘a way I feel comfortable with right now’.
When team members know what the Standard Operating Procedures are; when staff know that there is a minimum standard which must be met; when the SOP’s and standards are appropriate … then every outcome is at least satisfactory.
Initiative and empowerment will then improve the result. But without the Standard Operating Procedures and minimum Performance Standards, every event would be a gamble — decided by an individual’s mood or attitude.
If you’re serious about your business, you don’t want to leave your success to chance. So why do that by letting individuals decide at random what they’ll do in a given circumstance?
Define a policy. Develop an SOP. Set a minimum Performance Standard.
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