We all have the power needed to create and manage change within the systems (personal and organizational) of which we are members. However, many of us constrain our energy and power through antithetical belief systems. Often, we simply don’t believe that we have choices available to achieve the changes we desire. At times, our concept of what we want to change is too vague to be useful. Or, our energies are too dispersed to be effective. Regardless of the reason why not, what is needed is to empower ourselves. Unfortunately, others cannot do it for us–
though they can support us in our self-empowerment.
Here is the definition we use for empowerment: Supporting self and others toward self-discovering their inherent ability to choose their behavior, emotions, thoughts, and beliefs on behalf of fully engaging themselves toward accomplishing their personal goals and those of their systems.
General Thoughts about Making Empowerment Work
2. Find a wider range of choices beyond “damned if I do and damned if I don’t.”
3. Focus on the present rather than the past or the future.
4. Beware problem-solving. Empowerment “teaches someone to fish;” problem-solving “gives a fish.”
5. Offer suggestions only to ensure that all options are being explored.
6. Ask, “How would you find out?” when “I don’t know” statements occur.
7. Support the other person, not our own ideas, experiences, or egos.
Specific Steps to Support the Empowerment of Others
1. Clarify goals.
2. Identify what is in the way of accomplishing the goal.
3. Check that one is operating from sound and current data.
4. Identify beliefs and conflicting thoughts that may be preventing goal attainment.
5. Keep the focus on empowerment rather than the obstacles and other players.
6. Offer suggestions to choose from.
7. Identify the decisions that need to be made among the available choices.
8. Identify the support system needed.
9. Identify a path forward of concrete next steps of time and place.
10. Check to see if the person has confidence in the path forward.
11. Offer encouragement. You’re done!
Marianne Williamson’s poem speaks to the essence of empowerment.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Learn to Make a Difference in the World of People, Teams, and Organizations http://bit.ly/zFCNfv
In recent blog posts we have looked at the stages of planned change, which can also be thought of in terms of critical interventions, and at the levels of organizations in which the skilled practitioner works. We also offered a general process of Organization Development that takes into account these stages and organizational levels. Now we will consider eight crucial disciplines, the mastery of which binds it all together.
Effectiveness with each of the prescribed stages of change across the levels of organization systems requires a degree of critical thinking that is generally beyond that found in the target organization and the general social milieu in which the organization exists.
Each of the eight disciplines directly supports the empowerability of human systems and the people that live and work within them. They also support the use of collaborative strategies and tactics aimed at open communication, consensual decision-making, cooperation, learning, and relationship building which together can make for powerful and productive human systems anywhere. Each is related to and supports the others toward a systemic understanding of critical thinking as applied to making humans systems both productive and satisfying.
These disciplines focus upon:
- Conscious Use of Self
- Systems Orientation
- Sound and Current Data
- Infinite Power
- Learning from Differences
- Support Systems
We will look at each of them in greater detail in the coming weeks.
I’ve been thinking about how to formulate with sufficient detail to be useable and in a temporally logical manner, the things that the top OD folks think about as they move from the beginning of an OD project to its end. The problem, of course, is that each step requires the personal judgment needed to move a step from number 3 to 9 or step 12 to 5. Most steps will need to be repeated over and over as the process unfolds anyway.
I’m offering a loose recipe that will always require your own tweaks, modifications, and embellishments. It’s stuff worth thinking about for those who want to increase their ability to manage change in human systems.
Go to http://www.chumans.com/human-systems-resources/process-of-od.html for the document.
Let me know what you would add, change, or subtract from the list that would make it more useful! I’d really like that!