Back-pocket Questions for Leaders

Overcoming Pandemic Fatigue: Focusing on Energizing Teams

Driven by Purpose

Business Growth through People empowerment

People empowerment in organizations, is a practice that is both embraced and feared. Embraced, in a world that is constantly changing and feared when boundaries are crossed. There have been a number of research studies that have positively linked empowerment with increased team performance.
 
According to a study, organizations which practice employee empowerment have 50% higher degree of customer loyalty. Another research by Pepperdine University, suggested a clear relation between people empowerment and financial success.
 
Many factors contribute to organizations yielding the benefits of people empowerment. Here we will look at some of the aspects:
 
Intrinsic empowerment
“Ask not……Ask what you can do for your country” – JFK. Although, most people empowerment literature begins with organizational or leadership perspectives, here we would like to begin with team members themselves. People need to have the empowered spirit and know that they have the power to perform and take the organization ahead. This enables all the people empowerment efforts worthwhile.  
 
Leadership
Although, its upto the people in the organization to execute the responsibility given through empowerment, a leaders’ role is vital here as well. Empowerment, begins with power sharing by the leaders, where they make their people feel trusted and valued. It’s important not to lock people up in box, through micromanagement that restricts them from spontaneity and creativity both of which are required in todays’ VUCA world.
 
Group Cohesion
People empowerment, that gives independence in tasks, works well when there is interdependence. When interdependence lacks, in a team with increased autonomy, the team performance is reduced.
 
Agreement
There has to be an agreement made between the team members and the leaders inorder, to set boundaries, finalize training plans etc that will make the people empowerment process work.
 
When done in the right manner, people empowerment, enables leaders with more time for critical business aspects and motivated team members. 

A teacher’s day thought: Information to transformation

 
The profession of teaching has been built over the years on the foundation of sharing information to students. Today, the pressure to do so has increased tremendously, so much so, that students take drastic measures if they are not able to deal with the overload of information.
 
What’s lost here, is the scope of students to transform themselves to responsible citizens and be the best they can be.  The key is to have a quiet balance between teaching to inform versus teaching to transform. Why not give transformation a thought!
 
A teacher or a boss who is a mentor can give a start, or redirect.  Mentors build up confidence and provide a network that allows individuals find the avenue of success and take on failures positively. They help in connecting the dots between capabilities and potential, goals and successes. They give critical feedback which is actually a catalyst for self-awareness and eventual transformation. This teachers’ day, as teachers in schools and colleges, as leaders and mentors in corporate organizations, let’s ponder over how we balance information and transformation. 

Karnataka Hockey Team gearing up for the upcoming season through experiential learning at Breakthrough

The Karnataka senior men’s Hockey team which is preparing for the upcoming nationals participated in an experiential learning program at Breakthrough today. Breakthrough is an organization that uses experiential learning to facilitate learning of behaviours and values for teams from across corporates, colleges, schools, sporting teams etc.
 
The Karnataka Hockey team along with Coach Sandeep Somesh came to Breakthrough to bring the team together and build a positive mindset through experiential learning. The program was packed with activities that were aimed at creating a conducive environment for learning.
 
Speaking on the program, Pradhan Somanna, a member of the Karnataka Hockey team said “The program helped us to dissolve negativities and to have a fresh mindset. The atmosphere at Breakthrough was unique. It was a fantastic motivating program”.
 
The coach Sandeep Somesh, said “One of the big takeways from the program for me and the team is that if you push the limit, you can go beyond what you really expect. I am happy with everything we did at Breakthrough, as it can be related a lot to the hockey ground in terms of trusting and supporting teammates and staying together as a unit.”
 
The vision of Breakthrough is to impact lives. Each part of the program was carefully designed to bring the impact that can be taken back to the field where players can apply and take the team to the next level.
 

Why Emotional safety is important for experiential learning?

 
At Breakthrough, we use challenge activities to train people on behaviours and values. There are high and low challenge courses at Breakthrough. In all the challenge courses physical safety is our top priority. In addition, to that emotional safety is also given equal importance.
 
Emotional safety is a psychological term use to describe an emotionally stable state where one is free to encounter new experiences without being in danger of physical or verbal harm. In the challenge course world we have used the term emotional safety to describe the desire to protect participants “feelings” as well as their bodies, so that they have a safe place to encounter new ideas and reach new levels of trust and team work.
The following are the measures we take for the emotional safety of participants at Breakthrough.
 
Ground rules: At the beginning of the program our ground rules are lied wherein, participants are instructed, not to underestimate (Discount) themselves or others during the course of the program. They are also encouraged to refrain from behaviours that could negatively impact others. This provides a safe platform for participants to be themselves without feeling threatened.
 
Program design: Programs are designed in such a manner that it starts with activities that are inclusive. This breaks the ice and encourages participants to get comfortable with each other and the facilitators. In addition, activities such as which are challenging are held towards the later part of the program. So that participants are relaxed while doing activities which tend to be out of their comfort zones.
 
Challenge by Choice: This is most important feature of our step towards emotional safety is “Challenge by choice”. The final decision to perform the activity is taken by the participants. None of the participants are forced to do any of the challenge activities.
 
Because a challenge course is designed to take people out of their comfort zone, the team building experience can be either a confidence builder or a confidence breaker. Hence, emotional safety is an important aspect of experiential learning and also at Breakthrough. Here, participants are safely taken to an environment of learning that organizations desire for their teams to acquire and grow. 

A poem dedicated to Breakthrough

Life is a tight rope walk
Balance is the key to open every lock

Each step of not only yours, you watch
And always aim at higher notch

There is a lot at stake
On the choices, you make

When everything seems dark
Just remind yourself to rekindle the spark

Winning does becomes a habit
If on your laurels you don’t just sit

You just need to be you
And you shall find your Breakthrough

– Ashwin Karthik

Ashwin, dedicated this poem after experiencing a day at Breakthrough.