Empower with Systems: Part 1 of 5

I got some requests to do a follow-up on the last post discussing empowering so I will do a 5 part series digging deeper into the 5 components of empowerment. Read the original post first so the following ones make sense.

The first of 5 components required to empower people is systems.

Systems are not be confused with processes which I will discuss in the next post. If you read the full definition of system you could probably skip this post. I will assume you read it or know it.

Since a system is a grouping of different objects that work together to perform a task, leaders should be hyper focused on ensuring their team, department, or company acts like a system. In order for this to be true one must divide work and people into natural groups. The groups will have internal processes that make their work effective and efficient.

Then one must ensure that there is a natural and seamless connection between each group. This step is often overlooked. Whether we are talking about passing data between two technologies or passing instructions between two people this part of a system must be codified and permanent. Almost sacred. Can you imagine if in your digestive system your stomach became detached from your intestines!

When you develop well defined groupings of work/people and create natural, seamless, iron clad connections between groups you have a system and it works on autopilot. It will even learn, adjust, grow, and heal itself as it matures, significantly reducing the need for leaders to intervene on a day to day basis. And best of all, your people will feel empowered in their roles.

There are countless books on how to develop systems so there is no need for me to delve into techniques here. The main learning from this post is that systems are different than processes and that systems are the critical first step to empowering your people. It also happens to be one of the most difficult because it is so abstract. Do not let that keep you from developing your systems.

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Thompson Aderinkomi