In the book, Turn the Ship Around, David Marquet talks about embracing the inspector role. In the Navy, they measure readiness, and hope that nothing bad will happen; but if it does, they want to be fully prepared to work as a team to use the ship and its resources. To ensure everyone’s preparedness they send out inspectors to complete a readiness assessment. Midshipmen need to execute the procedures, respond to any variations thrown at them, and work in harmony as a collective team to get a great score. These drills have more than one purpose, and provide answers to burning management questions, like how difficult some tasks are, or why does it take “X” number of minutes to perform certain tasks?
William Garvin, Director of Community Options Chester/Delaware County, took on a similar challenge when conducting evaluations of fire evacuation drills. He wondered about how to improve performance so he put himself in the role of inspector, and learned by observing and asking questions. Once he was able to see for himself, he then empowered the staff by challenging them to improve the process. Whether you’re empowering, emancipating, or liberating ― you’re helping free people’s creativity, engaging their ability to brain storm, and select an option or ideas to make a process easier, faster, and less intense in some way.
The team of staff in the home stepped up to the challenge, created new ideas, and expanded their circle of input to include others with unique ideas as well. Now they have a new process with different resources. That new approach will produce better outcomes in the time needed to evacuate, while improving the comfort of the residents. The evaluation and empowerment of his team proved to be an equally great way to set measurements that everyone can improve on in the future, and truly reflect on their accomplishments.
For William, helping to liberate his team was a reminder that all of our staff are capable of being problem solvers; the more we acknowledge each other’s work and provide praise, the more we light a torch for creative thinking, ownership, and initiative.