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This is the third of an ongoing series of articles on employee performance. Over the next several months, well explore the
reasons for employee non-performance and some strategies for
I suggest you save each article in a notebook for future reference. Im confident that, over time, nearly all of the situations
well be covering will occur in one fashion or another in your business. ATRA members can download and print past articles by
going directly to www.atraonline.com.

by Thom Tschetter

Putting the

in Empower ment

o quickly summarize the first

article, there are two underlying reasons for employee nonperformance:
1. Management did something to
cause the employee to fail to perform.
2. Management failed to do something to cause the employee to fail to
In other words, employee performance is the result of the things management does or fails to do, relative to the
employee and his or her job.
The second article, in a nutshell,
proposed that both good and bad performance is based on the motivation
driving the behavior, and that motivation comes from within. You can manage and direct behavior with processes,
rules, and policies, but this isnt the
case with motivation.
So how do you start creating a
company culture and work environment
that naturally spawns and nurtures
employees who are motivated to do the
things theyre supposed to do? This will
require a cultural makeover for most
businesses. Yes, this will take time,
energy and a boatload of patience, but it
will be a one-time investment with
occasional touchups to maintain it once
its in place.

The company culture Im talking

about is commonly referred to as the
empowerment culture. In the empowerment culture, employees see themselves as part of a team, and theyre
motivated from within to help the team
perform better. An empowered team is
one that sees itself as one unit, thats
clear about where its going, and that
shares the central qualities of work,
power, skills, values, authority,
accountability, and rewards. Being part
of an empowered team is, in itself,
As I already mentioned, the cultural makeover will take time and require
strong leadership by management and
commitment by all team members. It
doesnt happen overnight. In the beginning, some employees will resist it,
even though its better for everyone
the employees, the company, the management, and the customers.
Therefore, I recommend you treat
the change process more as a journey
than as a destination. This series of articles will provide a guideline for gradually establishing an empowered workplace culture. Be sure to share the first
two articles in this series with your
employees. Ask them for their feedback
and input regarding how they feel about

what the articles say. Involve your

entire team in the implementation
process so everyone gains a sense of
The secret to building an empowered team of top performers can be
summed up in what I call the four Ps
Purpose, Process, People and Payoff.
Now lets take a look at how the principles of purpose, process, people, and
payoff produce power performance.
Now that might actually be easier done
than said!
In this article, were going to look
at the role purpose plays in establishing
an empowerment culture. Everyone on
an empowered team is clear with
respect to purpose. Purpose includes
many things, all of which deal with the
companys vision, its core values, and
the answer to this key question, Why
are we in business? The answer to this
question is called a mission statement.
An empowered company is guided
by a clearly written mission statement.
The mission statement serves as an
alignment tool, against which you can
measure all strategic decisions. The
mission statement is enduring and
guides you in making better decisions.
It isnt a destination, but more like a
compass, pointing you in the right
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direction toward a goal, an objective, or

a target.
The companys mission statement
forms the foundation of that companys
culture and values. The importance of
having a well-defined mission statement is captured by Stephen Covey
when he observed, In a business that is
void of purpose and values, rules are
unenforceable. But in a business that is
clear regarding its purpose and values,
rules are unnecessary.
While companies generally have
just one mission statement, they normally have many goals, objectives and
targets. The words goals, objectives and
targets are often used interchangeably,
and that can cause some confusion. The
way Ive always differentiated them is
by separating them in terms of timeframe and purpose. As opposed to a
mission statement, goals, objectives
and targets are designed to be accomplished.
Its been said that goals are dreams
with deadlines. While all three are forward-thinking with deadlines, heres
how I differentiate them. A goal is
something you plan to accomplish by a
certain date more than 1 year away. An
objective is something moves you
toward your goal, and that you plan to
accomplish in 12 months or less. And
targets are the incremental steps that
need to be accomplished to arrive at an
objective, which will lead you to
achieving your goal successfully. Bear
in mind that all goals, objectives and
targets must be in complete alignment
with the companys mission statement
or youll be sending mixed signals to
your team.
You might already have a mission
statement, but whether you do or not,
all members of a truly empowered team
must agree with and embrace the companys mission, goals and values. The
POW in emPOWerment is based on all
members of the team understanding,
believing in, and committing to your
companys purpose its mission, its
values, and its goals.
So how do you get the team on
board with the program? If youre a traditional manager, youre going to be
surprised at the answer, but here it is
just involve the whole team in the
process. Give everyone on the team the
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opportunity to participate in developing

the companys culture, writing or
rewriting the mission statement, goals,
objectives and targets.
This, in itself, is empowerment at
work. It creates a strong sense of ownership and accountability for results. If
you impose your next great idea or
process on the employees, you are
responsible for the results. But if the
team comes up with the plan, everyone
buys into it emotionally, owns it in their
heart, and feels responsible to help the
team accomplish the plan.
Here is an outline to get started.
1. Schedule a team meeting as soon as
possible. Discuss your desire to involve
everyone in helping make the business
more successful and a better place to
work. Ask them to read the first three
articles. Tell them you want to change
the companys culture, and youre going
to need their help. This will head off the
suspicious types and open the door for
their involvement so they dont perceive
this as something youre imposing on
2. Have a meeting the meetings
should be voluntary and outside of
business hours.
a.The first order of business should
be to establish ground rules for the
You should lead the first couple of
meetings, but as everyone gets
more comfortable with the
process, the leadership can change
so everyone gets a turn.
The meeting leaders role is to
keep the meeting moving and on
topic. There should be no rank
all have equal voice during the
Discussions should be focused on
positive ways to make things better, not just gripe sessions with no
b. Discuss the key points Ive covered in these first three articles.
c. Let the attendees express their
feelings and ideas.
3. Get to work on a mission statement
for the company.
a. Ideally, sub-mission statements
would also be developed for each
department and for each team
The department and team member

mission statements are simply

extensions of the companys mission statement.
These sub-mission statements must
be in alignment with, and in support of, the companys mission
statement. Answer the question,
What is the purpose of this
department? and What is the
purpose of my role?
4. As soon as the mission statements
are in place, turn your attention to
establishing goals, objectives and targets for the company, its departments,
and employees. As much as possible,
keep your focus on matters of how to
improve the company, and not on past
performance or individual performers,
to avoid defensive posturing.
Remember, this isnt going to happen overnight. Be patient and stick with
it. If you feel like this is going to be too
challenging, remember, You dont
have to be great to start, but to be great,
you have to start.
Next month well take up the next
of the 4 Ps: PROCESS. This is where
the rubber meets the road.
In the meantime, keep in mind that
much of the success of this series of articles
will depend on you. I encourage you to help
by sharing your own challenges and personal stories about employee nonperformance issues. Share stories from your own
perspective whether youre an employee, an owner, or a manager. Dont worry
about form or format; just send in your
thoughts, ideas, concerns and challenges in
your own words. You can send them by
mail, email or fax. Anonymous contributions
are welcome, and if you want to keep it confidential, Ill honor that, too. Ill compile them
and turn them into articles that are sure to
be learning experiences for everybody.
Mail your contributions to Thom
Tschetter c/o ATRA, 2400 Latigo Avenue,
Oxnard, CA 93030. My email is thom@profitboost.com or send a fax to 805-604-2006.
If you use email or send a fax, please
include the words Employee Performance
Article in the subject line. Also, feel free to
send any questions or challenges you
encounter in implementing any of the ideas
discussed in this series. I look forward to
hearing from you.