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10 tips to empower your people and improve your business


My first job after graduating was as a trainee for a multinational textile manufacturer. I was bursting with enthusiasm and really wanted to make an impact in my role as Quality CoOrdinator for my new employers.

I learned my role quickly and spent many unpaid hours researching best practice approaches and emerging trends. I identified a huge cost-saving opportunity for the company and prepared a report on exactly how this could be achieved. By automating a number of very laborious manual processes, our company could save time, money and resources. What's more, there would be no financial investment required - we already had the technology and I had the skills to deliver the project!

I was really excited by the possibilities and asked to meet with our Factory Manager to present this 'no brainer' proposal. Our meeting was brief. He obviously hadn't read my proposal and had some pretty fixed ideas on what he wanted from his graduate trainees,

"Your job here son is to maintain systems, not to change systems - you're spending too much time with all this research nonsense... You're in the real world now!"

Ouch - that stung! But it taught me a very valuable lesson at an early stage in my career...

Your people in the front-line are usually best placed to identify inefficiencies in your business and are quite often capable of giving you the answers that will take your business to the next level. THEY can be the key to unleashing the potential of your organisation!

Here are 10 tips to empower your people and improve your business that will help ensure you don't make the same mistake my old boss did:

  1. Understand that change is constant - if you're not continually improving, you will be left behind.
  2. Most people dislike change... Unless it is change based on their recommendations.
  3. Encourage your people to constantly look out for opportunities to improve.
  4. Adopt a 'no blame' culture. Don't focus on WHO is at fault - focus on what needs to be done to fix the problem.
  5. If someone suggests a 'better way of doing things' they will be fully committed to ensuring their suggestion works.
  6. Take a personal interest and listen to suggestions.
  7. Invest the time needed to understand the issues involved as well as the suggested solution.
  8. Thank your people for their suggestions.
  9. Make sure you give credit where credit is due - don't pass off your People's suggestions as your own.
  10. If a suggestion can't be implemented, explain why.
What tips do you have to empower employees and improve business?

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