How many times have you feel totally powerless and ineffective as a result of the scale of the problem and the lack of understanding what it is that is required of you. Empowerment can only be effective if boundaries, expectations and a common understanding of the current position are shared between the empowering individual and the person being empowered.
Surprisingly one of the best examples of true empowerment is evident in the UK’s Armed Forces with their mission command, doctrine and shared ethos. Mission command is all about telling someone what you want them to do rather than how to do it. Explaining the outcome required and attributing the correct resources to achieve the expected outcome. It is also about constraints and boundaries. To put it simply it is ’empowerment within a box’. Such empowerment affords total freedom of manoeuvre within the set area whilst allowing adventure outside the box if the opportunity presents itself, that is providing that the empowerer knows as soon as possible.
Ethos and doctrine in the Armed Forces are developed through training and operations and these are things which are often neglected within Britain’s major businesses. For it is doctrine that gives the common understanding and it is ethos that generates the mutual trust that enables an organisation to meet and exceed the speed of modern life and business. Ethos requires development and if companies are to truly empower their workers and to really engage their people they need to invest far more in it. Selection and training save money and create ethos and facilitate a common doctrine. Ethos enables trust but it is doctrine that gives the commonality to processes that underpins that ethos and enables a company to continually improve.