Scotty, in the Star Trek series was known to yell this from the engine room to save the Enterprise from certain doom in the nick of time. Which, of course, was every episode.
A Most Valuable Skill
One of the most valuable skills a manager can have is to be able to move his power down the line to his employees. Their response is almost always overwhelmingly positive to this kind of move, once they get over the shock of being able to something more than merely following instructions from the boss.
Most managers are reticent to move their power down to their subordinates for fear that something will go wrong. In many cases, they just do not trust their employees. The Command and Control attitude they were taught goes strongly against this kind of action.
Look for Remarkable Results
If the boss trusts his employees to make independent decisions, however, the results can be remarkable! Employees on the front lines in any business usually know much quicker what needs to be improved and how to do it. A good boss will give them the authority, resources, and encouragement to try new things and implement their ideas.
On the flip side, employees will be more motivated and engaged at work if they are valued in this way. People just want to be important in the big scheme of things. And they have so much more to contribute than most managers think.
Also, employees that are treated with honor and respect in this way will stay longer and be even more valuable to the organization as time goes by. I go into this in more depth in my recent post, “It Didn’t Have to Be That Way”.
It’s Starting to Happen
In some companies, this is starting to happen. The Wall Street Journal has an article about tech executives that are looking to their employees for new ideas – “Tech Executives Tap Employees for Ideas”.
This article talks about companies like VISA, UPS and Ernst & Young that are talking with their front line employees to get ideas for new products.
Fear Can be Good
The motivation for these companies, though, is fear. They are afraid of missing new trends unless they move fast enough to changing environments and competition.
Clearly, they recognize the value that front line employees give to their business: “Some of the most breakthrough innovations come from the front lines,” said Rajat Taneja, VISA’s executive vice president of technology and operations.
Building a Mindset
No matter what the original source of this change, it is good news for these companies. Hopefully, they will build the mindset of how valuable their people are into the fabric of their management and culture. And they will be able to move faster than their competition in addition to becoming a more profitable and happy place for employees to work.
You can bet your employees are thinking, “Captain, I Need More Power!”. If you want real change in your company. If you want to take advantage of your employee’s experience and ideas, start with getting to know them and what they think about the work they are doing.
You may be surprised at how much they will be able to contribute in a short amount of time.
Then, as time goes by, you can move your power down to them and watch the results! Scary, but worth the investment.