THE SHOP

October '17

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76 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2017 EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is an excerpt from the book Organizational Empower- ment: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series, (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $ 19.95 USD. T he forces requiring companies to continually change, transform and improve are becoming progres- sively more compelling in today's busi- ness environment. This is the result of a globalized economy, the shifting sands of deregulation and re-regulation, acceler- ated technological advancements, and the competitive challenges posed by emerging companies. Dealing with these forces can precipitate a crisis atmosphere in many companies as they attempt to retain market share in the midst of breakneck industry changes and political shifts. As these challenges have a definite effect on organizations and their ability to remain flexible and competitive, leaders can easily stumble into any number of pitfalls when striving to meet them. Empowerment is needed for an organi- zation as a whole to surmount problems, issues and events that surface without warning, and to achieve the necessary growth these new pressures demand. It is important for an organization and its top leaders to understand that power should flow to lower-level leaders and employees whose tasks, projects and assignments are needed to deal effectively with critical problems. The capacity of a company to strengthen itself comes from the empowerment of its members, which has its origin in the degree to which the organization is willing to share power with its leaders and employees. WHAT IS POWER? In today's climate, power is not found in controlling events and circumstances within the organization or outside its boundaries. Power is not focused on the personal gain, recognition or advancement of its individual leaders. Instead, it is a collective synergy found among all organizational members—a dynamis, or tireless energy that permeates the atmosphere. This is the inevitable result of delegating and including all leaders and employees in all processes that move the organization forward. Pitfalls emerge when organizations fall short in actually sharing power where and when called for. This is most often the reason why the concept of empowerment fails to take root in an organization and become a concrete, beneficial driving force. Many organizations often hold beliefs and views that run counter to empower- ment. They are often shortsighted and ignore the fact that, collectively, their mem- bers are the most critical resource they have to move forward. When organizations take a myopic view, they fail to realize the actual potential strength they have at their disposal, and do not utilize their leaders and employees to their best advantage. They often claim leadership and empowerment as primary goals, but fall short in actual attempts to develop a climate conducive to supporting them. This is generally the result of falling into common pitfalls, such as: Maintaining that Power Is a Fixed Sum Traditional organizational thinking pro- motes the idea that power is a fixed sum; i.e., if one person has more, others have less. Organizations and individuals within it who share this belief are also reluctant No Need to Go It Alone It is important for an organization and its top leaders to understand that power should flow to lower- level leaders and employees whose tasks, projects and assignments are needed to deal effectively with critical problems. Power must be shared for organizations to grow. By Timothy F. Bednarz

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