Bryan Smith and Joel Yanowitz

Empowerment is one of the buzzwords of the ’90s. Yet most organizational empowerment efforts fall short of making any substantive impact. Why? We believe alignment is the key. Empowerment without alignment is dysfunctional. It doesn’t help. In fact, it often exacerbates existing conflicts and counterproductive behaviors. Well-intentioned, committed people make escalating errors and become progressively more frustrated and disenfranchised. And then the leadership responds by stepping in and taking back the authority only recently delegated. If the only leverage you have is the granting or withholding of authority, it is nearly impossible to break out of that pendulum swing.

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