A CEO client of mine has been asking his senior executives to be more “entrepreneurial” in their approach to the business, and he is certainly not the first one to do so.
A leader can never give anyone ownership of a business initiative or objective.
Ownership is always taken, and to take ownership requires the will to do so. A leader can no more give someone ownership than a leader can give someone will.
Years ago, I was having coffee with an entrepreneur who, at the time, was bootstrapping a software business. He had been a CIA operative during the Vietnam War, and told me about the time he had spent with a multinational special forces unit in Laos.
Many companies are struggling to find the qualified people they need, so they resort to retaining the people they have whether qualified or not. They fight to eliminate or at least reduce rates of attrition when it is increased attrition that can do the business the most good. Retention of the best is all that matters.
Recently, the head of a large business unit of a major international company here in Japan told me that the company’s rate of attrition is of no particular concern to him, even though it is higher than industry average.
Empowerment is like breathing. We all recognize its need but we’re rarely aware of it until something is wrong. Passivity in business is the most common symptom of lack of empowerment. Continue reading
If you want traction for change among individuals in your organization, it is only when there are clear standards of performance or behavior, accountability to meet them, and support to help people succeed that a change can take hold. In my experience, a deficit in any one of these three will alter the way any change is treated and viewed, and will lose traction as a result.
I define conservatism as clinging to traditional practices with opposition to change and innovation out of principle. You fight conservatism in an organization through initiating bold action independently and dealing with the consequences, not by insisting others change first. It is the way a person acts that makes him or her conservative, and not necessarily the way he or she thinks.
There is nothing inherently wrong with symbolism. It is only symbolism that masquerades inaction that is unethical and destructive.