Letting go of power and authority

KBC Enjoys Change So what were the barriers or issues that the programme threw up? Rombouts has some definite views on this subject. “The desire of managers to hold onto power and not delegate decision-making was something we had to change. People won’t be accountable for their decisions unless they are given genuine and complete responsibility for them and innovation will be stifled as a result. They don’t want to be looking over their shoulders or waiting for approvals at every stage. It is a big culture change for managers to let this go and encourage new thinking – even if it sometimes goes wrong.”

“Empowerment can be a bit scary for everyone at first. No consultants telling you how to achieve things, managers taking a light touch, no committee overviews and direction, being thrown in and told to do your own thing. But ultimately it brings a sense of belonging, achievement and recognition when an idea comes to fruition. It wasn’t about forcing people to these new behaviours either. They were allowed to adopt and adapt at their own pace; find their own way, try things out and see how it felt, and to do the things that worked for them and the business.”

“We produced some simple and basic tools to help provide a framework. Short keyword messages on a card to keep the values to the forefront, theme months, and competitions for the smartest or SLIMmest teams - initiatives just to keep the impetus alive. And staff gradually began to feel more comfortable, engaged and motivated. We encouraged them to look for simple ideas rather than wide-ranging complex changes and when they emerged we would disseminate and promote them. It became a very powerful force for change from the ground up.”

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