Since the start of this company, Madison and I have both been deeply involved in every decision, every policy and every new product launch. It came more out of the necessity of building something on a shoestring budget. But this started to feel very much like an employment organization rather than the empowerment organization that it was meant to be.
Our organization, like so many others, has management at the top and our sales field at the base. The sales field, our Beauty Guides, are the true experts in what our customers want since they interact with them day in and day out. So, what happens when we turn that structure on its head, empowering the foundation of the organization to inform its own processes?
I like to think of it like shaking a snow globe. When it’s just sitting on its base, nothing happens. But when we flip it over, tons of unique and interesting ideas start to float around. At LimeLife, those ideas come to life as programs, products and policies. To ensure that we are getting those ideas at the top, Beauty Guides have access to our emails, can provide comments and suggestions in our Facebook group, and can pass their thoughts onto the leaders who meet with our Home Office team twice a week.
In talking with other entrepreneurs, I’ve seen so many organizations with a culture of management, not empowerment. Strategies are created in a board room and passed down to the worker bees, who have little to no say in those decisions. My advice to others is: practice the art of letting go. I just went through this struggle, and this was my process:
Step 1: Put ego aside.
This is the hardest step. When you’ve worked your way to the top, it’s natural to feel entitled to make the decisions. Instead, remind yourself that your role as a leader is to amplify the voices of those at the base of your organization.
Step 2: Give them a warehouse.
Good organizations give their sales field a toolbox to work from. Great organizations give them a warehouse. No two people work in the same way, and the more tools and flexibility your team has, the greater their potential is.
Step 3: Filter through the feedback.
Create a process and structure for your team to provide feedback, and filter through it to find what works. Not everything is going to be feasible, so it’s important to prioritize. Even more important? Explain what you’re moving forward with and why, so they start learning to think like a leader.
Step 4: Assess.
Are you on the right track? Are the tools and processes running smoothly? Check in with your larger goals constantly, and don’t be afraid to change what isn’t working.
Getting out of the management mindset and into an empowerment mindset is not as simple as flipping a switch. That’s true even for the sales field, who are often so conditioned to operate under an employer/employee model that they hesitate to take the reins.
If your organization is feeling stuck, take a leap and shake the snow globe. You never know what might float to the surface!