Thursday, September 13, 2007


What's another word for 'empowered'? I don't like it because it is overused as a corporate buzzword and under appreciated as a game-changing concept. It's the concept that I like. In your company, do you feel free to cross those invisible corporate boundaries to make things happen? To discuss, collaborate, act? I'm lucky enough to work for a company that makes me feel that way. And it's not because they make a big announcement heralding the idea to the masses: "You are empowered to make decisions".

I've heard that before and it wasn't true. There were still job titles, egos and chains of command to contended with.

'Empowered' sounds like you're being granted permission from those higher up the food chain to act. I guess the people surrounding me today, the CEO, the CIO, and my co-workers make me want to be Accountable; a concept I believe is self-granted. If I have an idea, I can own it, grow it and make it work. And not as a solo effort, either. We are encouraged to reach out and work directly with the people who can make ideas into reality.

The actions I see on a daily basis speak louder than any words to confirm this. After being hired, I met several of people in senior leadership positions in the company. As an example of their commitment to keep the communication channels open, they were adamant that there should not be an company organization chart.

Not this:

Not this



No artificial power structures in place or asking permission from the boss to talk to your peers who happen to work in a different department or on a different contract. As an organization, we are very flat, by design, and it Just Works. It's like a big tree, whose branches are weighed down by an ice storm, all suddenly shake free their icy repression and spring up to the same height as the highest branch.

Being in an environment like this has changed me. I am no longer in a cubicle reporting to a single boss. I am one of many influences in the company who increasingly don't see team boundaries, we see Singularity. We see opportunities to improve our business and our culture and we're making it happen.

This is individual accountability to own and promote ideas and to collaborate as a next generation enterprise using lightweight, online tools (including the phone!) to make it easy. This is collaborating on ideas on your corporate wiki. This is sharing your bookmarked feeds collectively through Yahoo Pipes. This is about sharing your experiences and knowledge by blogging about it. This is keeping a pulse on new technologies, not for your team, but for other teams in the company. This is a call.

This is the Manifesto that I believe in.

As Charlie says, "Advertise yourself", your knowledge and what you are passionate about, so when the time comes, people will also reach out to you to collaborate with.

Even with obstacles removed from your path, it can still be tough to follow through. I am out of my personal comfort zone on a regular basis. However, I know it's the way forward, for my company, but most importantly for me. It's my way of providing leadership at work. I can't do it with words. I have to do it by leading by example.

You can, too. Make it an infectious attitude. Lose Yourself.

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