I was in a meeting recently and had one of those “a-ha moments” a la Oprah Winfrey.
We were discussing a high visibility project with an ambitious deadline and at the end of the call, one of the executive sponsors of the project directly asked who was accountable for the project (Read – who’s responsible if it fails?) and then continued to the group: “Now- you have all that you need to move forward – I assume you will meet the deadline – and I expect that the results will be fantastic.”
There was none of the old “I expect a status call in 2 days to discuss progress” or “Get me a slide on how things are moving along.” Just “GET IT DONE and DO IT RIGHT.” And don’t bother me unless there is an emergency.
Some may find this approach a little too direct but for me, it was quite refreshing – an executive willing to empower me to do my work and do it well!
A funny thing happened after that meeting. I found that I was extra motivated and really driven to put my best work forward. If this executive trusts me to deliver, I want to make sure I do a great job. Hence my Oprah-inspired revelation – happy and empowered employees do great work. Great work means happy customers.
It brought me back to one of Michael Brenner’s early posts: The #1 Way to Improve Customer Loyalty and Satisfaction. The article includes some great facts about the “Service Profit Chain” theory and the financial link between employee to customer experiences and profits.
So, to all the executives out there- I challenge you – have your own “a-ha moment” – have confidence in your people and empower your teams. Your customers and your bottom line will benefit.
Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sepblog/3555130776