Building Blocks of Empowerment

Beliefs are the foundation of empowered relationships
Decision makers in empowered relationships believe they Participants in empowered relationships believe they
  • Must earn the right to lead.
  • Don’t have enough information to make the best decisions; others often have better access to information.
  • Can improve the quality of their decisions by obtaining the input of those who have valuable perspectives.
  • Can benefit from respected participant’s feedback, even when it is difficult or painful to receive
  • Can contribute to the quality of decisions for which they have specialized knowledge, unique perspectives, or considerable experience.
  • Must earn the right to influence the decision maker’s thinking by providing valuable perspectives.
  • Are responsible for helping decision makers make the best, most informed decisions possible.
  • Have no direct control over the final action but can influence decisions by offering their input.
  • are working with a decision maker who is willing and able to be influenced when the advocacy comes from a source he or she deems credible.

Motivations are the driving force behind empowerment

Decision makers in empowered relationships want to  Participants in empowered relationships want to 
  • Make decisions that achieve the best immediate and long-term results.
  • Ensure their decisions are thorough and technically accurate.
  • Increase other’s commitment to their decisions.
  • Engage in breakthrough thinking and creative problem solving.
  • Foster an environment where people are involved and feel valued.
  • Shape decisions that produce immediate and long-term results.
  • Work where they have an opportunity to influence their own destiny and that of the company.
  • Increase the likelihood that decisions are well thought out.
  • Work for a company in which they feel valued.
  • Help produce breakthrough solutions.
  • Share in the organization’s vision.

Actions are the behavioral evidence of empowerment

Decision makers encourage empowerment when they  Participants enhance empowerment when they
  • Select and develop people who will offer ideas and support their decisions.
  • Determine when and how much to solicit the input of others.
  • Send clear messages that participation is expected and will be rewarded.
  • Appropriately involve specific people in the decision-making process (according to their qualifications and the amount of flexibility the situation allows).
  • employ techniques that facilitate participation (such as an open-door policy, focus groups, or hotlines).
  • Carefully listen to and consider the ideas of others.
  • Demonstrate the permeability of their frame of reference by using the input of others.
  • Explain the rationale behind their decisions to those who offered input.
  • use consequence management to rewarded those who support the decision and impose sanctions on those who do not.
  • Recognize situations where they have input to contribute, and then offer it.
  • Identify problems early and prepare adequately before offering suggestions to decision makers.
  • Share their honest perspective, even when this challenges the decision makers’ view or desires.
  • Show support for the decision maker and/or the decision, even when it was not what they advocated.
  • Follow up with the decision maker to determine the impact of their contribution.
  • Share with others examples of successful participation with decision makers.


Sequence  (Start anywhere, keep going around)

  • Participant earns the right to influence decision maker.
  • decision maker values participant and acknowledges interdependence.
  • Decision maker declares when input would be helpful to make a decision
  • participant decides if issue and recommendations to be offered are worth the required investment
  • participant prepares and presents recommendations to fit or shape decision maker’s frame of reference.
  • Decision maker actively listens; appreciatively understands participant’s perspective
  • Decision maker declares decision and explains rationale.
  • Participant demonstrates support, devotion to the decision or loyalty to the decision maker.

cf.: Model- Decision Making Styles

Source: Leading at the Edge of Chaos, Daryl Connor,page 234-236


Primary Goals sits at the intersection of three core ideas about communication:
  • Leaders create vision by communicating a compelling future to their teams.
  • Teams create success based on how effectively the communicate and coordinate with each other.
  • Entrepreneurial ventures are successful only when they communicate value to people with a concern that the business can take care of
In all cases, it’s about Conversations for Committed Results.  That’s our Primary Goal.  



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