Enablement: Just another buzzword?

We all love to hate ’em. We roll our eyes when we hear ‘em.  Buzzwords.  Opportunity. Boots on the ground. Deep Dive. Paradigm shift. Level up. Circle back. Ugh…

In his Dilbert Comic Strip, author Scott Adams is a master of pointing out the kinds of ridiculous productivity drains that make corporate jobs so... draining.

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PHOTO: DILBERT (AUTHOR SCOTT ADAMS) 

WHAT IS ENABLEMENT?

Is enablement one of those cringe-worthy buzzwords?  Let’s take a look at its meaning, and its relevance in the work world right now.

According the Cambridge dictionary, Enablement (noun) - the process of making someone able to do something, or making something possible

OK, that sounds good.  We like that. Making something possible is totally in our wheelhouse. This could be through providing tools, training, trust, authority, direction, guidance.  Hey, that sounds like the quality of a Leader.  You can’t just cross your fingers and hope your team reads your mind to magically clear those bottlenecks, launch the next quarter’s rollouts, or improve your store’s quality perception.

Enabling could be as simple as clearing roadblocks and providing the right tools to get something done, to make something possible.  One of the last things you want to hear is, “Well, we could have done that if we had (insert tool or training here).”  Does your team have the right tools to be successful… and, in turn, to make the company successful?  Successful employees are happy employees.  Happy employees have lower churn. Is your team enabled? What does that even look like?

Picture this: you are launching a new bar-coding system to all the stores in a particular region. But you don’t have any tool today to cleanly communicate this launch to your field team. You rely on emails, conference calls or top-down communication (like a game of telephone that may or may not deliver the message you intended.) They have to struggle with work-arounds to get it launched, having to piecemeal it all together and basically hope for the best.

Now, think about how it would go if they had the right tools and/or training to begin with - their day would have been much more productive. They’d go home feeling successful.  If a process or task is easier, wouldn’t the employee be more likely to make the new process part of their regular routine?  Shouldn’t it also follow then that they would then more quickly adopt the new bar-coding system you were launching? Which leaves more time and resources to take on more tasks, projects … and, generally, conquering all your goals.  

ARE YOU MAKING NOISE OR PROGRESS?

So, when does a buzzword become worthy of treating it like the printer in the movie Office Space? 

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PHOTO: Office Space (20th Century Fox)

I think when those buzzwords are just that … buzz. When they don’t turn into actions. When they stay just that, words, spoken in a soul-crushingly monotonous meeting, but never followed through… then they are just noise around your office.  

What action can you take to enable your team?  What tools and training can you provide? Once you’ve identified your biggest pain points and business needs, research options that can help you – for example, a platform like Movista, to helps put all the tools, administrative systems and communications you need in one place, to enable your teams to get more done, more efficiently. Until then, work on your synergy, be more transparent, be laser-focused about curating some options that can be leveraged to move the needle and … okay, okay … that's enough for today.

Tags:
field execution, workforce management, Retail operations, field management, workforce automation, teamwork, retail technology, remote teams, enablement