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Money Matters: How empowering your employees leads to a growth culture

By Jake Goeckeritz - Fishbowl | Dec 4, 2021

When you notice one of your weaknesses, what’s your instinct?

Many of us are “inclined to hide, rationalize, minimize, cover up, and deny our weaknesses and mistakes because they make us feel vulnerable, at risk, and unworthy,” said Tony Schwartz, president and CEO of The Energy Project. “These fears narrow and limit our perspective rather than enlarging it.”

Weaknesses, however, don’t necessarily need to hold us back in this way. In his talk at this year’s Inventory Management + Growth Summit, Blake Modersitzki, general partner at Pelion Venture Partners, encouraged business leaders to view weaknesses (their own and others’) as opportunities for learning and improving. It’s all part of building a growth culture, and empowering your employees is key. 

What is a growth culture? Cleverism gives this great definition: “A set of beliefs and organizational mindset that is focused on helping employees develop their limitless potential.” Empower your employees and build that kind of culture by having open dialogue, providing training opportunities and delegating decisions. Doing so will totally change your mindset toward mistakes and weaknesses and help your company now and in the long term.

Open dialogue

How does open dialogue help employees develop their limitless potential? Part of the power of open dialogue is giving employees the opportunity to effect real change in the company. 

In his summit talk, Modersitzki encouraged business leaders to find an “innocence filter:” someone who can be a fresh pair of eyes to look at your work and share their observations. He experienced this firsthand when his daughter worked for him. She felt he was putting too much stress on his employees and shared her observation with him. That candid feedback from employee to boss changed the way he worked with his employees.

Now, it’s probably more natural for a daughter to share constructive criticism with her father than an unrelated employee to the boss. To start making this kind of open communication more likely, start asking for it — and really listen to what you’re told. Imagine the improvement that could happen if employees were encouraged to share their candid thoughts. The business would improve, and employees would become more active solution-seekers, which is an excellent professional trait.

Training opportunities

One way to empower your employees is, as Modersitzki puts it, by being a go-giver instead of a go-getter. What’s the difference? A go-getter is willing to step over people to achieve their goals. A go-giver is willing to give more than they take from the community or business they’re a part of. 

Be a go-giver by being supportive and helping your employees work through problems instead of being purely negative. Another idea is to encourage and even provide professional training for your employees. The benefits of this are plentiful.

A survey of over 2,000 professionals, “found that employees who spend time at work learning are 47% less likely to be stressed, 39% more likely to feel productive and successful, 23% more ready to take on additional responsibilities and 21% more likely to feel confident and happy,” according to global industry analyst Josh Bersin

Delegated decisions

Delegation is an art and a science — and it’s not always a good idea. Delegating the right kinds of decisions can empower your employees and contribute to a growth culture. But how do you know which decisions to delegate?

According to Aaron De Smet, Caitlin Hewes and Leigh Weiss at McKinsey & Company, delegated decisions should be familiar, frequent items that have a narrow scope and impact, and they should be delegated to the individual or team closest to the core of the problem. Not only that, but these employees or teams need the tools, authority and guidance to make the best decisions possible.

For example, say the process for addressing customer complaints is inefficient and clunky, and something has to change. This could be a great decision for your customer service team to take a crack at! They deal with customer complaints every day, and the workflow only really affects their team. When they are given the authority, guidance and resources to choose a third-party app or service, they will likely make a great decision that makes their team and the company better.

Empower your employees by having open dialogue, providing training opportunities and delegating decisions. Doing so will help you build a growth culture that changes your company for the better.

Jake Goeckeritz is the vice president of marketing at Fishbowl Inventory, which provides a powerful inventory control system to automate inventory management and scale business.

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