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Oliver Wight EAME Blog

Empowering People to Change

11 March 2016

In the last blog I emphasised the importance of people in driving change within the business, but now you’re faced with the challenge of encouraging those who are resistant to change to work towards the new business goal and plan.

Empowerment lies at the heart of business transformation. People need to feel empowered to do their job more effectively, and to recognise the impact they have on change. Empowerment is defined as ‘responsibility matched with authority’. When this is achieved change can begin to happen. There are five questions people need to know the answers to:

1.    What is my involvement?

2.    What is my ownership?

3.    What level of empowerment do I have?

4.    How am I going to engage with the rest of the organisation?

5.    What’s in if for me?


The more people are educated on and shown how they can make a difference, the more likely they will be energised to help the business achieve its new aims and goals. Ultimately employees need to feel valued; if they understand that change needs to happen because the business is looking to progress, not because they have failed, they will act responsibly and make the right decisions. Critically, management needs to make it clear what the benefits are, not just to the business, but to each and every individual: a smoother working day, fewer time-consuming processes, career development and maybe a share in the financial proceeds.


With this in mind it is essential to make the company’s policies and procedures readily available to everyone. Employees must have the ability to make effective decisions and drive change without having to constantly defer to their managers, thus allowing change to happen more quickly and effectively. When employees genuinely feel they can drive change, they will experience the value they are having on the business and want to continue to be successful in the process.


Of course people will only believe they are the big drivers in change if the word comes from the top - and they believe it to be the truth. Leaders must walk the talk - exciting the organisation’s people about change and how the transformation will affect their future is the most effective way of achieving the desired outcome. With everyone in the business working towards the same goal and feeling valued for their contribution, business transformation has begun.