Empowerment and Ownership
A few years ago I undertook an assignment of training people in one of Asia’s largest hospital group on “Patient Care and Service Excellence”. The project involved training Doctors and Management Executives across various departments. The core objective of my training was to infuse Sense of Ownership and Passion into people. I was delivering a 3 day module for all the Departmental heads which included people from Operation Theatre, Emergency, ICU, Radiology etc.
On the 2nd day of training the session was on “Empowering people”. The head of Emergency department stood up and asked me, “Sreeram, all that you are saying is fine but how do I empower the ambulance drivers by instilling qualities like Ownership and Passion in them since many of them don’t take Ownership and that is not allowing us to do what we can & should do”.
I immediately asked her back on how many times she had thanked the ambulance driver for bringing a critically ill patient alive to the hospital. She replied back saying, “sometimes I do thank them but not always since I think it’s part of their job to bring the patients alive”.
I said, “Look if you can thank them and tell them what an important job they have done by telling them that if they had not brought the patient alive on time, even the best of doctors, nursing staff and the best of infrastructure that you have in the hospital could have done nothing to save a life. By doing his responsibility so well he has enabled the best of people to bring back a person from the brink of death to life.” I added by saying drivers would no more look at themselves as mere chauffeurs but would feel being a part of Life Saving Team.
We can empower people only by making them aware of their role in the big picture. In this case the ambulance driver needs to become aware that he is different from a mere cab or bus driver since he is part of a larger cause. The passion and ownership would automatically flow and he would go the “Extra Mile” and do everything in his capacity to bring the patient alive to the hospital.
Few weeks later I received a call from the Head of Department of Emergency & Critical Care and she told me that she could see a drive and desire in her Drivers Team to bring the patients alive to the hospital and the excuses are no more being given by them.
My Dear Readers, Empowerment is moving people from a lower level of consciousness to a higher level of consciousness and that can be achieved only by making the last man in the team committed to a larger cause. Commit your team to a larger cause. Define the bigger picture and make everyone aware of their role in the bigger picture. More importantly communicate to people that without their contribution the big picture would not be complete. By adding this simple communication you can instill a sense of passion and ownership in your team members.
Remember friends, “You judge the Greatness of a Leader not by the way he performs but by the way he makes people around him perform”. Your people would perform miracles if you can empower them by making them committed to a larger cause. Empower your people and create a Passionate workplace.