MoCo Power Breakfast Helps Leaders to Question Emotions and Perspective

At its Leadership Breakfast Forum on 15 May, training company MoCo Development took a fascinating look at ‘Empowerment Through People’. The event was attended by 25 people, made up of leaders from the private, public and third sectors, plus education. These included City College Norwich, NANSA, Larking Gowen and Broadland Council.

The first speaker was Chris Sargisson, from Stands Brands, who works closely with some major brand name organisations to improve the customer experience they deliver and help develop effective language to get the best results from sales and marketing.

Chris cited some fascinating examples of how empowering employees has worked in practice, especially for Norwich Union Direct, where he was instrumental in empowering employees to create a working environment that would give them greater job satisfaction and therefore help improve staff retention.

The result of the exercise was a resounding success and turned the company’s fortunes around completely, creating the fastest growing insurance organisation in the UK.

Chris is now looking at a similar exercise with Estate Agents, where the cost and experience of house buying are major stumbling blocks.

Professional artist Phil Daniels helped the seminar to look at how we perceive things in different ways. He has created 15 pictures of faces showing different emotions. The seminar delegates were initially presented with cards showing just the eyes and asked what emotions they were demonstrating. The full picture was then revealed and in many cases was very different to the perceived emotion.

MoCo MD Steve Ferrey, who delivered the seminar, said: “Empowerment can often be based on our own experience or the personal way we perceive things. The key to successful empowerment is to fully understand the motivation and emotions of the person we are empowering and not to make assumptions based on our personal feelings.”

The delegates were then asked for feedback on the question ‘Is empowering people a dangerous approach that can lead to costly mistakes?’ Many delegates shared personal experiences that showed both positive and negative results of empowerment, and how empowering one group of people can alienate another within the same organisation.

After the seminar, Gary Howard, from City College Norwich, said: “I really enjoyed the seminar today and learned a great deal, especially that empowerment can be positive, but it is not about having a leaderless team. It requires careful thought processes and planning and must be a strategic exercise.”

John Woolston, from Larking Gowen, commented: “What resonated for me today was the exercise with the paintings and the eyes. It showed clearly that our perspectives and impressions may be initially incorrect when assessing emotion, so we need to beware of preconceived ideas.”

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