Posts Tagged ‘empowerment’

As the Paradigm Shifts #P: Power

by Rosie Kuhn on August 3, 2011

In my first book, Self-Empowerment 101, I devote the first chapter solely to the subject of power. The reason is that through power and the energy that generates power, every event since the Big Bang is a result of that power. Regardless of how power is used – whether in alignment with evil or good intentions, to look small and helpless or to be a superpower, all is generated from the same source.

Power is often synonymous with force; taking against the will of the other, be it from sentient or non-sentient beings, for the sole purpose of gain. Gaining is a reward that spurs us to generate unreasonably creative uses of power. Some of it seems absolutely ridiculous, like the guy in Norway who used his power to devastate the morale of a whole country, in order to gain recognition for his disdain for the rights of the people he hated. Other people use their power to stay under the radar, thinking this gains them freedom to ignore certain responsibilities taken on by those above the radar. Using power to stay small also gains invisibility from potential harm. Too many of us use our power to gain immunity from rejection, abandonment or betrayal, gaining invulnerability for the sake of avoiding the experience of losing control over the situation, other people and themselves.

At the same time that we may be using our power to gain what we interpret as control, safety and invulnerability, we are also using it in the service of good and truth. Extraordinary creations are making their way into our reality every day that makes this world a better place to live. More and more people are utilizing their personal power to empower others. It’s a beautiful thing to witness.

All of us want a sense of control in our lives and we engage our personal power to do whatever it takes to make that happen. We use power to appear and feel disempowered, allowing ourselves to be victimized in ways that seem to be out of our own control, but really isn’t. Yes, the individuals killed in Norway by this crazed individual were victims and they were totally vulnerable to the circumstance they found themselves in. It important to distinguish when we use our power to create self-victimizing circumstances and when we are just plain out of control and all we are left with is a Big-Fat-Be-With. Even in such circumstances we can still use our personal power to be-with what is in the best possible way. It may not save our own life or the lives of others, but we can at least step into a more empowering interpretation.

Power and Empowerment

For some reason I find the notion of empowerment far more helpful and available than talking about changing your use of power. It’s essentially the same thing, but for me something changes with that one little em. Embodying, owning, self-governing, self-referencing, choosing to infuse oneself with the ability to self-regulate based on the outcome you are wanting – that’s empowering.

I’m working with a client in Israel. He is the owner of his own successful business. He rules based on control and domination. He uses his power to disempower others so he feels more in control. He is always looking for reasons to make others wrong so he can feel righteous. By feeling righteous he feels in control and powerful. At the same time, his use of power doesn’t allow him to have a sense of connection with his employees, and its contributing to a sense of dissatisfaction in all parts of his life. He sees that his GM has a great relationship with the employees because he leads differently, and he’s happier. What my client is wanting to gain from our coaching relationship is more fulfillment in his personal and professional life. He is beginning to understand that he experiences a greater sense of fulfillment when he allows himself to dismantle his current use of power. To empower himself to have more fulfillment more consistently has him willing to practice how he uses power in his business, and, he’s finding that it means shifting how he uses power in his personal relationships as well.

What brought my client into coaching was, though he had power and success he didn’t have a sense of fulfillment. He realizes that this is far more important than power and control. The invulnerability that he gets from the way he’s been using his power up until now isn’t satisfying. He’s considering the alternatives and is cultivating awareness by noticing what’s going on around him, how he impacts his environment and the consequence of that both professionally and personally. He’s becoming fascinated with the mechanisms that are influencing the results showing up in his life and in his business.

He gets now that he doesn’t have to give up one iota of power to have fulfillment. He gets that he can use his power to make different choices maintaining the sense of personal power he had when he yelled at everyone. Nothing is taken away. The belief that people won’t respect him if he doesn’t yell will be tested. He is willing to experiment – because he has something at stake that is greater than his fear of being vulnerable and out of control. Fulfillment has become a big enough goal that he’s willing to risk some pride – all be it, false-pride.

As the paradigm shifts, it becomes obvious that our business-as-usual mentality is causing incredible dis-ease in our work environments. Using power to maintain control in an environment where control itself is disempowering to the organization and its employees begins to be crazy-making. As a culture we are beginning to experience the requirement for less use of power as a manipulative force and more use of power to empower others to empower themselves and others. Enjoy the exploration!

As the Paradigm Shifts #F: Fear

by Rosie Kuhn on May 18, 2011

The current paradigm within which we are deeply rooted and that is ingrained in every cell of our body is cultivated solely around fear-based thinking. Research shows that 70% of our thoughts are precipitated from fear. Imagine that! How did we come to reside in such an environment permeated with a pervasive and automatic trigger to think fear-based thoughts? Is there another way? Do we have a choice in the matter?

In the previous blog I distinguished essence-based thinking from fear-based thinking. We have a knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that we are something far beyond the fear-based reality within which we are immersed. At the same time, there is a field or paradigm that corrupts this knowing fragmenting it into millions of tiny particles that then reflects back to us in mere instances the brilliance and radiant beings that we are.

History of war and persecution for thinking and being different than what is prescribed by political and religious dogma reminds us that we are not immune to the horrible things that human beings can do to one another. We remember and imagine what it has been like to be subjected to such treatment. And, the same time we may be living it, unconscious of the pervasiveness of it within our everyday life.

Notice Your Thoughts

Imagine heading to work. You in your car, on the train or bus and you’re sensing some anxiety, resistance or something that isn’t peaceful. If you were to just notice for a moments the thoughts running through your mind that is the catalyst for these feelings, what would you notice? If researchers are right and 70% of what you are thinking is negative and fear-based, what environment are you creating inside your head as you prepare to engage with the work, the people and the environment? Are these thoughts and bodily sensations preparing you for a day of peaceful, fun and creative interactions, or are they preparing you to do battle with yourself and everything that confronts you? Are these thoughts memories of what occurred in the past? Are they worries about what may unfold, or are you thinking about what you might say or would like to say to someone who is really bugging you?

So much of what is occurring in our brains are random firings of impulses that have become habitual in nature. Honestly, we have no clue as to how many programs are running concurrently in our brain. Some of them are essential and some of them are just a form of masturbation, stimulating endorphin and adrenaline that make us feel good about ourselves, and at the same time allow us to distract ourselves from feeling bad about ourselves.

Say STOP!

As long as we are in this game of focusing on maintaining what we’ve gained, avoiding loss of any sort, and ignoring the choice-making process that keeps us playing the same strategies over and over again, winning will never be the outcome. It isn’t even a possibility because we’ve limited our capacity to think beyond the fear-based paradigm.

Einstein’s words come to mind.

“We can’t solve problems with the same thinking that created them”.

There’s a practice I’ve been working with for years. When I catch myself thinking thoughts that are not serving my essence-self, which desires peace, clarity of purpose and fulfillment, I just say STOP! A couple of curious things showed up when I first started this practice. First, that part of me that wanted to think all of the “what if’s and shoulda’s and coulda’s; it didn’t stop. It went right on blabbering. Much like an unruly child, my mind had learned it didn’t need to respond to my demand that it stop. I had to become more insistent before it would even consider listening to me. And…

I realized too that when that unruly part of me stopped creating thoughts that contributed to, well essentially nothing, what showed up was fear. I found myself fearful of not having fear-based thoughts! I experienced a great deal of fear when I insisted my mind take a break. I didn’t know who I was when I stopped thinking.

Questions to Ask Yourself

In the workplace, we are constantly bombarded with circumstances that require an incredible amount of attention. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What’s the degree of quality you are bringing and is it in alignment with what you are wanting for yourself and your business?
  • Is fearful, anxious, antagonistic or resistance the foundation upon which you want your actions to come from when engaged with customers, clients and all of those with whom you interact?
  • What commitment is underlying this come-from?

For me, I come from anxious, worried and disempowered when I’m committed to staying in an old story of a helpless, powerless, victim. I have to ask myself frequently; am I really committed to that story? I then have to give myself an alternative – that to which I know I’m committed – empowered, engaged and empowering of others.

Yes, I too sit in the dilemma of what to choose – my fear based commitments or my essence-based commitments. More effortlessly than ever before, I’m able to take action in alignment with my choice to grow myself and my work from my essence-based truth.

Shifting the Paradigm

Shifting our paradigm requires each of us to be willing to perceive our reality through lenses that reflect the positive attributes of our reality, making that the 70% of our thinking process. This in itself would make such an incredibly profound contribution to our work environment, not to mention to our family, friends and the world at large.

Consider being curious about your thoughts and emotions. Notice that your emotions are just energy that is generated by your thoughts. Shift your thoughts and your emotional state will shift immediately. I know it’s a lot to ask, however, I believe you are ready to step into the question. Enjoy the journey!

My experience with life in any business environment is, that these three words empowerment, essence and engage, are the most powerful. They support and enhance personal and professional growth for both you and the business within which you are employed. The degree to which you are engaged with your work and your environment from an empowered perspective is the degree to which you will experience fulfillment and healthy dynamics within the workplace.

In my initial interviews with clients, regardless of their position, I ask: “What are you afraid people are going to find out or decide about you?” In quick order, even top executives will share aspects of their humanity that they are afraid will be found out. They’ll say something like “I’m afraid people will find out that I’m a fraud, that I’m unworthy of my current position; I don’t know as much as people think I know; I’m barely able to cope with the responsibilities I have; I sometimes doubt my capacity to do my job effectively. The list is endless as each of us has our own unique set of truths about ourselves that we want to keep secret.

The next question I ask “What do you do so people don’t find out that you are a (in this case) a fraud, unworthy of your position and the responsibility that comes with it?”

Bound by Ego

The answers to this question reflect a set of survival strategies, which over time become unconscious mechanisms that in a nutshell we call our personality or our ego. As you can see, our ego is fueled by fear-based precepts that have you believe that you flawed and have to act and be in certain ways in order to avoid being found out. Being found out, for most of us translates into being rejected, humiliated or annihilated. It takes an incredible amount of effort for our ego’s radar system to constantly be on the lookout for potential slips that could incur being found out.

Imagine the amount of attention you put towards this protective process I call your survival mechanism. It’s much like your computer that is set up with a virus detecting software. It has to be on alert 24/7. In the case of us humans, though we are alert for not only what might be coming in, but more importantly what we might be putting out.

In the business environment too many of us are working and being from our egoic self. What else is there, you might ask?

Free of Ego

Imagine if you will, a moment in your life when you are not operating from your fear-based strategies. What’s that like in your body? What’s the quality of the experience you are imagining yourself in? Sometimes it’s challenging for people to remember a time because it’s rare for them to not be stressed, fearful and on alert. However, most people will eventually remember a time or at least begin to sense into what it might be like. When they do they describe the qualities of being in that moment as, light, relaxed, free, creative, playful, fearless, engaged, connecting, open, flexible. This list too is endless as there are so many adjectives to describe this state of being without fear. We know this place; we just don’t visit it often enough.

The next question I ask my client is: “What would shift in your relationship to your work and your work environment if you were to coming from freedom, creative, relaxed, . . . instead of stressed, overwhelmed, intimidated, . .? The answers always astound the person answering. “I’d be more accessible to my direct reports, I’d be more engaged in their projects; I’d be less controlling and would delegate more easily. I’d be more fun to be around and I’d support people in being innovative. I wouldn’t be so stressed; I’d also be more willing to leave the office earlier, spending more time with family, friends and myself.

Wow! So by imagining being in a state that is not fear-based all sorts of possibilities show up that may have seemed otherwise impossible.

Once an individual is aware that they actually can choose to choose differently in how to be who they want to be in their work environment they then can begin to exercise muscles that will help them generate from this newfound freedom, fun and flexibility.

The 4 Questions to Ask

You would think that once experience and revelation has occurred that people would actually empower themselves to choose to begin the process of shifting from fear-based choice-making to what I call essence-based choice-making. This brings us back to that essential dilemma of wanting what is desirable, at the same time wanting to avoid what is undesirable. For those committed to bringing spirituality into business there will be the conflicting commitment of wanting to avoid repercussions. Again, those four basic questions need to be asked:

  1. What are you afraid people will find out or decide about you;
  2. What do you do in order to have them not find that out
  3. What qualities arise when you remember your vision of having the desired outcome; and
  4. What would shift if you were to be that now? What choices would you make and what actions would you take in alignment with that choice?

This line of questioning consistently brings the individual in direct alignment with their essence of being, and empowers them to engage in actions that will bring about the desired outcome.

I totally understand how terrifying it is to consider being in your essence, especially in the workplace. Rarely are we seen or acknowledged for our essence-self. However, we are not our survival strategies, they change as our circumstances change; we are not our ego either. If that were true we would never ever experience those moments when we know ourselves beyond or fear and limitations. It doesn’t make it any less scary.

This brings me back to my original introduction when I defined spirituality as the practice of faith-leaping; exercising muscles that allow you to consider the possibility of shifting from the perspective that life is scary, to, life is a daring adventure or it is nothing – as Helen Keller said. Engaging with your life as a daring adventure requires thoughtful presence to what it is you’ve come here to do and to be.

At some point you will realize you don’t have a choice but to begin to get those muscles in shape. It isn’t a matter of if, it is a matter of when you’ll empower yourself to engage in living into your essence of being and living your life totally on purpose.

Flexible Focus #18: Engage visual thinking

by William Reed on September 9, 2010

In the art of flexible focus, dimension is more important than sequence. To emphasize this point I have selected for review eight of the Mandala Charts which have been featured in earlier articles in this series. Like a card deck that can be shuffled to create new combinations, these Mandala templates can be reshuffled and reviewed for a new perspective. In a world where change is constant, this is one way to stay on top of the wave.

Through the links below you can download the Mandala Charts, as well as reference the articles in this series where they first appeared. Each one contains a visual image in the central frame which was selected as a visual anchor for the central theme. These images resonate powerfully with the sub-themes, and can stimulate new images by association.

The images can help you recall and recreate new ideas around the central theme, as well as serve as a connecting bridge between the surrounding sub-themes. Images keep your Mandala interesting and alive, and if you print them out, you can also sketch images of your own inside the surrounding frames to enhance the key words, phrases, and text which you will add.

The images are assembled in the Mandala shown here, referenced from the articles and downloads below. In the conventional Mandala fashion, they are marked A (bottom center), B (left center), C (top center), D (right center), E (bottom left), F (top left), G (top right), F (bottom right).

Here are a few notes to set your thoughts in motion. For easy reference, and to trigger new insights, download the Mandala Charts and review the original articles from each of the links below.

8 Fields of Life (From Flexible Focus #3: The Principle of Interdependence)

Happily interwoven?…or a tangled mess?

The image of a Celtic Knot is a powerful icon of the 8 dimensions of life interwoven in perfect balance. The weave of the knot is loose enough that each dimension is distinct, and yet each strand crosses through every other. Look at this knot as you consider each of the 8 fields of your life, and ask yourself if they are in balance. Which fields need more time, care, or attention?

Mandala on Health (From Flexible Focus #4: The 8 Frames of Life: Health)

Radiantly connected?…or bent out of shape?

The image of a radiant tropical sun symbolizes the radiant quality of health. It includes what you eat, how you move, your attitude, and your relationships. It makes no sense to sacrifice your health for the sake of profit or convenience. Consider all of the factors that contribute to your health, and you will have many leverage points to improve it. Are you neglecting one or more of these factors in your life?

Refocus Your Business (From Flexible Focus #11: The Principle of Comprehensiveness)

Focus on the spaces between…and the possibilities therein

The optical illusion of flashing dots is a reminder of how we need to look closely to see what is really there. If you keep your eyes open you will discover many opportunities to make improvements. It is not enough to make a living. You must also make a life. Business and work can easily dominate your life, occupying an unreasonable amount of time and energy. The irony is that working harder is not always working better. If your work does not support your mission and identity, it will create conflict and sap your energy. Look for better, smarter ways to work. Find ways to work with others to accomplish more than you can by yourself.

Empowerment Mandala (From Flexible Focus #10: Become the Change)

Are you receiving fish?…or learning how to fish?

The image shows the moment of catching a fish, not asking for one. Empowerment is the ability to fish and fend for yourself. It is the opposite of entitlement, which is expecting others to fish for you. Constant preoccupation with receiving confines creativity. It is better to build momentum through action, than to succumb to inertia through passivity. To quote Dr. Seuss, with brains in your head and feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose.

Magic of Mindset (From Flexible Focus #9: The Magic of Mindset)

Rabbit or duck illusion…and mental perception?

This image appears to be a rabbit, until you shift your focus and it appears to be a duck! It is a reminder that mindset is truly magic. The way you look at things determines what you see. Life tends to live up to our expectations as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Don’t be taken in by first impressions, because things and people are not often as they seem. Both positive and negative judgments can be contagious. Keep an open mind and a positive attitude, and you will attract people of like mind.

Opportunities for Engagement (From Flexible Focus #12: The 8 Frames of Life: Business)

Keep your ideas flowing…Keep your passion high

The image of a fountain of ideas spiraling from an open mind is enhanced by the color of red for passion. The flow of ideas is a measure of your interest, curiosity, and enthusiasm. Keep it strong by looking for new ways to engage with people in your work and private pursuits. Business is a dynamic process, and you are better off being an active player than a passive spectator. Look at the Mandala and ask yourself, where are there opportunities for greater engagement?

Decision Mandala (From Flexible Focus #16: The Decision Trap)

Learn from others…with a better perspective

The image of question marks lost in a labyrinth shows the difficulty of making decisions in complex circumstances. Many of life’s challenges do not lend themselves to simple logic. Sometimes it is best to lift yourself out of the labyrinth and seek wisdom from a higher perspective. Well selected quotes can provide that perspective, but the inspiration of a quote depends on timing and its relevance to the problem at hand. Working with the Mandala chart you will find that eight quotes can be better than one.

Karma Connections (From Flexible Focus #15: Karma and Connections)

Act, action, performance…not fate or consequences

The image shows the interplay of opposites, the balance of yin and yang. It also shows the dynamics of interaction. The more actively you engage in the game, the more opportunities you have to take advantage of critical moments. The pitch on which you play is where you are here and now. When you see that negative words and thoughts lead to negative results, it is easier to leave them behind. Karma is a dynamic and ongoing process. Your actions are the script for your life.

The visual images in each of these Mandala charts help you to engage visual thinking. Visit them often.

NOTE: The articles in the Flexible Focus series are updated with graphics, links, and attachments on the FLEXIBLE FOCUS Webbrain, a dynamic and navigable map of the entire series. It has a searchable visual index, and is updated each week as the series develops.

Flexible Focus #10: Become the change

by William Reed on July 15, 2010

Empowerment is a process that is often confused with its common cousin, entitlement. The essential mindset of empowerment is abundance, the ability to produce; whereas that of entitlement is insufficiency, the demand to receive. Mahatma Gandhi said that “We must become the change we want to be.” He was a champion of empowerment.

The meaning of the word empowerment is somewhat shaded by the spiritual, political, social, or economic agenda of the individuals and communities which seek it. We must increase our capacity to create anew, not simply settle for our due. If empowerment’s promise is to be lasting rather than temporary, you must learn how to fish, rather than simply hope to be given a fish.

Time is on our side

We live in a time remarkably well suited for empowerment, because of the convergence of factors which John Naisbitt predicted in his 1982 bestseller, Megatrends, which anticipated many of the social and business trends which we now take for granted. In the early 1980s, it seemed a brave new world to anticipate what Naisbitt predicted:

  1. Information economy
  2. Technology on a human scale
  3. Emergence of a global economy
  4. Longer time frames
  5. The growth of empowerment
  6. Self-reliance
  7. Changing framework of democracy
  8. Hierarchy replaced by informal networks
  9. Speed as a competitive weapon
  10. More choice
  11. The power of small business

The growth of empowerment is a natural result, as well as a catalyst for the other megatrends Naisbitt forecast. He defined it as the ability to innovate and to achieve results from the bottom up. This ability is greatly facilitated by shared consciousness of capability, the feeling that it is possible. Empowerment is enhanced by the many points of leverage which technology gives us in perception and communication.

A wonderful world

I witnessed one example recently watching a televised special on the astro photo journal of Noguchi Soichi, the Japanese astronaut who recently returned from six months in space, from December 2009 to June 2010, aboard the Soyuz TMA-17. He shared his beautiful photos of the Earth in space, taken from the cupola of the Soyuz, with over 265,000 followers on Twitter. Immediate and universal access to heavenly vistas of our world in space. During his mission, Noguchi spoke with his friend Sakamoto Ryuichi through an amatuer radio antenna set up on a rooftop in New York City, as the Soyuz flew overhead in space. A conversation between friends made possible by the magic of technology.

What a Wonderful World was the special which TV Tokyo aired on July 3, one month after Noguchi’s return, and featured performances of Jazz numbers by famous Japanese musicians, surrounded by Noguchi’s photos on screens reminiscent of the cupola from which he took them. The music included numbers fitting the theme, What a Wonderful World, Imagine, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Jupiter, Smile, and Fly Me to the Moon. The program ended with a surprise announcement that the music and the photos would soon be made available as an iPad and iPhone application called What a Wonderful World.

This episode showcases many elements of empowerment, the fact that as human beings we can actually go into space, share our experience in photos and voice with the world, engage in research in outer space, return safely, and produce a television special in 30 days with artistic grace and technical finesse. A masterpiece of flexible focus, which soon you will be able to hold in the palm of your hand.

We did it ourselves!

The Mandala Chart is also a tool of empowerment, limited only by your imagination. Like a mental spaceship, it frees your mind to travel vast distances, crossing dimensions and disciplines with ease. Why be content on well-travelled ground, when space beckons to explore new frontiers?

While empowerment is something that can be encouraged by leaders, it works best when it comes from within. Lao Tzu said in the Tao Te Ching, “The leader is best when people are hardly aware of his existence…When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, the people say ‘We did it ourselves!’” Empowerment works best without interference. But it can be encouraged!

You can start by taking a measure of empowerment in your life, downloading the Empowerment Mandala to use with the following questions.

Ask yourself the fundamental question, in your life are you receiving a fish, or learning how to fish? Find a way to kindle the passion for learning and you will have lifelong leverage. Here are 8 key areas in which you can measure your mindset for empowerment.

  1. Decisions Do you know what you want? Do you make your own decisions?
  2. Access Do you have access to people, information, and resources? Do you stay connected?
  3. Options Do you have choices and alternatives? Do you have criteria to select from among them?
  4. Assertiveness Do you constantly take initiative to improve? Do you seek to do, as well as to know?
  5. Positive Do you have an optimistic attitude? Do you believe that changes can be made?
  6. Learning Are you continuously curious? Are you a lifelong learner?
  7. Engagement Are you actively engaged in your work and your life? Are you flexibly focused?
  8. Self-Image Do you see yourself as blessed with empowerment? Are you capable of realizing your potential?

If you consider these questions in the Mandala format, you will learn a lot about yourself. You will see your own personal Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats, and Opportunities (SWOT), and discover all kinds of ways in which you can empower yourself even more.

Remember that we are already well into the world which John Naisbitt predicted nearly 30 years ago, a wonderful world which we can now see from outer space and hold in the palm of our hand, a world in which we can become the change we want to be.

Quality #14: Process Improvement and 3E’s

by Tanmay Vora on January 25, 2010

The next installment in the QUALITYtweet series is: Process Improvement and 3E’s

Here are the first thirteen posts, in case you would like to go back and take a look:

  1. Quality #1: Quality is a long term differentiator
  2. Quality #2: Cure Precedes Prevention
  3. Quality #3: Great People + Good Processes = Great Quality
  4. Quality #4: Simplifying Processes
  5. Quality #5: Customers are your “Quality Partners”
  6. Quality #6: Knowing what needs improvement
  7. Quality #7: Productivity and Quality
  8. Quality #8: Best Practices are Contextual
  9. Quality #9: Quality of Relationship and Communication
  10. Quality #10: Inspection can be a waste if…
  11. Quality #11: Driving Change Through Leadership
  12. Quality #12: Middle Management and Quality Culture
  13. Quality #13: Reviews can be fun (if done right)

#QUALITYtweet Lack of 3E’s can be your biggest road blocks

in improvement journey. Empowerment, Education,

and Empathy

There are many reasons why a lot of improvement initiatives fail. However, top three reasons for most of the failures are:

1)      Lack of Empowerment

2)      Lack of Education and Training

3)      Lack of Empathy

Lets carefully look at each one of these culprits, and what you can do about it:

Empowerment

All improvement starts from the top. Most of the top leaders would claim that they want their processes to improve and efficiencies to increase. However, their best intentions to improve processes do not translate into actual commitment to improve. They assign responsibility of process improvement to a group but tend to bypass the processes themselves for short-term benefits. Worst yet, they assign responsibility of process improvement to a team and then reallocate the same team when faced with an immediate need of those resources. Leaders set a wrong precedence when they do this, and often create a culture where bypassing processes is considered normal. Lack of empowerment also means that people are not allowed to make mistakes. As a consequence, people responsible for or interested in process improvement initiative soon lose interest and move on and organization looses substantial time and effort already spent so far.

What can you do about it?

  • Map your intentions with your actions on process improvement.
  • Assign ownership and divert all communication related to improvement at one point.
  • Set expectations clear on goals and purpose of process improvement initiative.
  • Welcome innovation and let your improvement team make mistakes.
  • Announce your process improvement goals and track the progress.
  • Announce the results as well.
  • Periodically review improvement efforts and results.

Education

Either most people are not aware of the best practices or they don’t know how to apply those practices in given situations. Technology folks are deep into technology, but they don’t necessarily go deep into processes and practices. This is where continuous education is required. People need to be trained on processes and best way to implement them. When people don’t know the process, no wonder they will not use it optimally.

What can you do about it?

  • Set up a process training calendar throughout the year.
  • Ensure that all new processes, practices are propagated across the organization.
  • Set up a process advisory function for current/new projects.
  • Create best practices group and empower them to explore/share their expertise.
  • Have right knowledge management tools that help you in spreading process awareness.

Empathy

Process improvement can only be effective when process has an “empathy” element into it. If applied rigidly, processes can become your biggest barrier in solving your customer’s immediate problems. Empathy means accepting that processes may still not be able to solve all your/your customer’s problems. Empathy also means accepting that processes cannot be rigidly applied to all situations.

What can you do about it?

  • Understand the situation in which processes are applied.
  • Understand the larger context.
  • Assess if processes can be applied in an “as-is” state or would it need some tweaking.
  • Learn from unique situations and improve processes to include those scenarios.

As a first step to your process improvement journey, even if you focus on these Three E’s, your journey will become much easier and fun