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Do your employees feel Empowered or Defeated ? Often we get in a rut where employees feel defeated rather than empowered to make a positive change in your company. What is it that you want to change? Customer service, company image or how about attitudes ? Whatever it is, effecting a change toward the positive can be a hard and sometime long process. Often, employees are waiting for your lead as a manager to make the first move and to direct them (tell them) what you want done.

I have found that in order to effect a positive change, it takes more than direction from you to employees about how to create that change. You end up doing all the work, and your employees become followers, but not doers. First off you need layout the change you want to implement, then empower your employees to make that change. How exactly is that done ? Doesn’t that sound a little risky ? I might loose control.

You need to trust that your employees have more of a sense of what it takes to create a positive change. After all, they are they are the people who have regular contact with your customers. They are the people you rely on to get the work done. They know better than anyone what your customers want and what it would take to create a positive atmosphere for your customers to do business with you and to do repeat business with you.

When you make it their business and implement their ideas, your employees feel more a part of the process. By making employees a part of the process for change, you are empowering them to make a lasting change for good.

Below is an article that outlines the empowerment process.

Empower Your Employees to Deliver Excellence
Posted by: Today’s Tip Contributor on September 17, 2010

Ensuring your employees have the tools they need to be successful is critical. But empowering them to make decisions that could affect your business is just as important, if not more so. Guaranteeing that your employees have a voice will lead to a more cohesive, results-oriented team that is constantly pushing toward a common goal. If you’re looking for ways to empower your employees, here are some tips that will jump-start your team:

1. Listen to your employees. You should expect your employees to have a depth of understanding of their respective roles in the organization to a degree you never will. While you’re reading this, your employees are thinking of ways to perform their job more efficiently and effectively. Your employees have your next game-changing idea—but they have to know you want to hear about it.

2. Go to work for your employees. While your employees may formally report to you, it’s important that you consistently demonstrate you are working for them, too. One important way to do this is to be sure their good ideas are implemented and that proper credit is given where it is due.

3. Don’t micromanage your team. Trust and support their decision-making even when it may not be the decision you would have made. Constant second-guessing will erode the relationship and will likely dry up your greatest resource for improving the organization.

4. Failure isn’t necessarily failure. Allowing your employees to fail occasionally will only strengthen their decision-making ability and perhaps, more importantly, allow you an essential opportunity to coach and improve your—and their—skill sets.

Tim Kryszak
Executive vice-president of operations

Empower Your Employees to Deliver Excellence – BusinessWeek.

I discovered this process without really knowing what it was I was doing. But I have found that it works. Your job along the way is to be a cheerleader during the process, to implement the ideas and give credit where credit is due.

A real leader surrounds themselves with people who can DO, often better than they can, the things that need to be accomplished. Realize that you employees are often smarter than you are, and that you are all part of the same team. Together you can create a positive change.

Speaking of Change, more importantly, the “Voices of Change”, join me and many other professionals for the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast on May 6, 2011 Speakers include Seth Godin, John Maxwell, Dan Cathy, Robin Roberts and more. Leadercast is not just for professionals, it’s also for individuals who want to make a change in their life at work and in the world. Get your tickets and more information at


Hello Boomers,

As we all know, this recession has been very hard on older workers. Unemployed older workers (Baby Boomers) continue to find few who will rehire them – largely due to negative and false stereotypes.

If you ask any 30 something hiring manager about the pros and cons of hiring an older worker, you will likely hear that they are dependable, loyal, have a great work ethic, etc.

Those same 30 something hiring managers will also likely say they cost too much in health care and salary, produce less than a younger worker, are easily bored and disengaged from the work process, are unwilling to learn, etc.

We have argued against these unfair and inaccurate stereotypes but our arguments have largely been ignored. Hence the 99′ers – many of whom are Baby Boomers. Now Knowledge@Wharton provides a fairly comprehensive look at the negative perceptions and the corresponding realities. Some of their key findings include:

Older workers DO NOT cost more in terms of health care. They may take longer to recover from an injury but they take fewer sick days than younger workers. Health care costs can actually be lower for older workers who have fewer dependents and become Medicare eligible at 65, further reducing employer costs.

Older workers ARE NOT less productive than younger workers. According to Peter Cappelli of the Wharton Center for Human Resources, older workers have superior interpersonal skills, deal better with customers, have less turnover and less absenteeism. In his words, ”The evidence is unbelievably huge. Basically, older workers perform better on just about everything.” So is better performance, more experience, and greater knowledge that older workers bring to fill your business needs worth a higher salary?

Older workers DO NOT lose interest in their jobs. According to the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College, those who work past retirement age become more engaged and satisfied with their jobs.

Older workers DO NOT resist learning new things. The Sloan Center found that older workers ranked a challenging job and learning new things as top sources of job satisfaction.

So Wharton has once again shown that hiring an older worker is good for business. But there is another widely circulated opinion that believes if Baby Boomers retire there will be more jobs for younger workers. But many Baby Boomers cannot afford to retire. Aside from the long reign of unemployment, there are other reasons beyond excessive spending that have caused many Baby Boomers to be severely short of retirement savings.

Baby Boomers entered the work force during a time when retirement funding was derived from a ”three-legged stool”. The first leg was an employer sponsored defined benefit pension plan. The second leg was our own savings and the third leg was Social Security.

When defined benefit pension plans were largely abandoned by employers in favor of the much less costly 401K match, the first leg of the stool was severely threatened. Most employers now provide only a small percentage of retirement income with workers providing the rest via pretax contributions. For older Boomers like those turning 65 in 2011, this striking policy change occurred mid-career or later.

Retirement and savings trajectories were greatly impacted as the second leg of the stool, personal savings, was strained by the need to also self-fund most of the first leg. Since most employers didn’t increase wages as they abandoned defined benefit pensions, paychecks had to stretch to include more savings.

While the ability to save pre-tax helped, the fact that our funds became largely unavailable for years caused us to prioritize as we raised families, funded college degrees, paid mortgages and helped aging parents and grown children. We didn’t always save the maximum and my guess is that many younger workers are falling into this pattern too for similar reasons.

Personal savings portfolios and 401K plans are often largely tied to the fortunes of the stock market. Two major meltdowns since 2000 have decimated Baby Boomer retirement savings and they have little time left to make up the losses.

The third leg of the retirement stool is Social Security. It is under attack and no one knows what it will look like 5, 10 or 15 years from now. We all know that taxes will need to rise to adequately fund it for the present, let alone the future. Asking it to do more sooner is not the solution and asking Baby Boomers to retire early won’t create more opportunities for younger workers. In fact, it will do just the opposite.

According to Wharton insurance and risk management professor Olivia S. Mitchell, countries with policies that encourage people to retire at a younger age actually damage younger workers because the retired rely upon pension dollars (Social Security) funded by taxes. More retired citizens means higher taxes to pay increasing pension liabilities. Higher taxes cause companies to keep wages low and cut back on hiring. Workers facing low wages and high taxes spend less and save less, stifling economic growth. It is as Ben Bernanke calls it, “An invirtuous cycle.”

So what is the solution? Give older workers the opportunity to stay in the workforce as long as they can, as long as they want. This will not take jobs from younger workers but will instead help drive our economy through increased savings, lower costs for pension liabilities not yet claimed, and rising demand for goods and services.

If older workers DO NOT earn, older workers DO NOT buy. Don’t create a huge generation of unproductive, non-purchasing consumers any earlier than their health and their abilities require. Hire a Baby Boomer. It’s good for your business and it’s good for our economy.

You can read more about the Knowledge@Wharton study at:

2011 February « myboomer2boomer blog.

Last Friday evening many, many people from all walks came together to celebrate Rodney Jordan‘s birthday – and raise more than $500 for the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition.

During the celebration, I asked one of my typical birthday questions, “What’s the most significant event for you this past year?”

Rodney’s response: “This night, having all of these people here, this community.”


I believe that tells you exactly what kind of person Rodney is – he is all about the community – at our roundtable, Rodney jordan is Sir Galahad – pure of heart and ever galant (fyi, I’m labeling myself as the town crier in this little analogy).

Here’s the thing, I don’t know if many people really know just how much Rodney does – from organizing events to putting people and organizations together to supporting hundreds of people in the area – Rodney was the first person to step up to lead the Community Matters Networking Group, Rodney put together (and primarily funded) the first Social Media Train in Delaware – oh yea, and for anyone who has benefitted from using the hashtag #netde, yea, Rodney started that.

It is safe to say that most people in our community owe a debt of gratitude to Rodney – I know I do.

And when I look at how much he has done in just the last couple of years I’ve known him, I can’t wait to see how much will be accomplished in the coming years!

Rodney Jordan, truly deserving of the Dream, Believe, Dare and Do award if there ever was one.

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