Element 4: Empower People
Empower people to take decisions. Empowered people handle crisis situations far better. Some decisions could go wrong but it is fine. The world has hardly seen anything of this kind and that is why I call it as a “No Reference Point”. With no reference point to fall back upon decisions have to be taken based on the data available and also based on instincts.
What we found as a common thread among winning organizations is that they empowered people to make imperfect decisions. Some of the business leaders could quickly identify people who have seen crises and displayed enormous resilience in their personal lives. They were able to quickly identify such people and empowered them to take swift decisions. Another important attribute to look for in people who need to be empowered is the fact that certain people are task-oriented and also are fast-paced. These people are generally called Go-Getters. Go-Getters normally take quick and tough decisions.
What we need to understand is this is a pandemic. Not a normal situation. Most organizations and governments which we have, however good or bad they are, are designed and skilled only for administration under normal or near to normal situations. But a pandemic situation demands more dynamic skills with a more sustainable and flexible approach to it.
According to Melwyn, there was no time or means to supervise, monitor and had no time to even communicate the decisions to be taken in the frontline. There was no bandwidth available to communicate the information so that decisions can be taken at a higher level.
So, when you run out of bandwidth to communicate and when you run out of time, you actually tend to get into action and complete the tasks. The time-squeeze has actually helped UPL to push more decision-making to the front-end people and reduce the quantum of decision-making at the senior levels.
The purpose of the Rapid Response Task Force was to ensure that all the decision-making happens at the front-end and to filter the decisions and escalate only one or two decisions to the top management so that quick resolutions can happen.
When GDP’s across the world were negative UPLreported a 27% jump in sales in April, May & June quarter of 2020. The operating profit was up by 29% and margins rose by 500 basis points to 22%. The reported financials had beaten market expectations including the margins.Empowerment of people played a vital role in this stellar performance of UPL.
Finally, who are the right people to be empowered?
1. Look at their lives: if they have faced personal crises and came out on top or have they faced a crisis in the business before and they had solved them. In fact, HR should have this question in their interviews for recruits and also when they appraise people. They should have a database of people who have seen it, done it and come out of it either on top or without being hurt too much.
Author of “No Reference Point” Listed No. 1 Hot New Seller in Entrepreneurship category at Amazon