Support Your HEROes

August 1, 2012

“To succeed with empowered customers, you must empower your employees to solve customer problems. This is much harder than it sounds. It means your staff are going to be coming up with solutions on their own. The ideas don’t come from management; management’s new job is to support and empower employees.” – Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler from their book Empowered.

These days, the Internet, social media and mobile technologies provide information and opinions about your products and services to consumers with tremendous ease and speed. Companies have responded to this by participating in social media and leveraging mobile tools and technologies to connect with and engage consumers.

This makes consumers are more empowered today than ever before. And while companies are doing a fine job of leveraging technology to become much more responsive to consumers, getting to the next level requires a fundamental change in how we run our businesses.

Our empowerment of employees must improve. Management must invest in genuinely empowering employees – those on the front line and closest to the customer --- to respond to adapt and respond to changing customer demands. Bernoff and Schadler have branded these employees as HEROes, or Highly Empowered and Resourceful Operatives.

Your HEROes understand your customers, which places them in the best position to recommend meaningful change. But you can’t back everything all of the time. And some projects are more involved than others. Maybe your HERO needs some IT help, for example, or a particular project shows promise, but it requires involvement from other departments.

You need to choose between options. What can you and your empowered employees use to quickly and easily determine if the value of a given effort is in line with the effort required? have created an Effort-Value Evaluation (EVE) to address this very problem.

You will be asked a series of questions that will generate an EVE Score that will help you make an informed decision on whether or not to proceed with a project:

You can also access the tool by navigating to the Empowered site with this link.

If your value and effort scores are within 25 points of one another, you have a viable project on your hands. There will also be cases where value and effort are out of alignment, which Bernoff and Schadler call no-brainers (the value exceeds effort by more than 25 points) or a quixotic quagmire (the effort exceeds value by more than 25 points).

If you have a quixotic quagmire project, most likely you are making a mistake by pursuing the project. If you want to proceed, you will need to find ways to increase value and/or decrease the effort.

Viable projects fall into four classes based on the level of effort required.

Class 1: A simple fix (an effort less than 30).

Class 2: A cool idea (an effort equal to or greater than 30, but less than 60).

Class 3: A major project (an effort equal to or greater than 60, but less than 90). It is likely your project will touch multiple departments, need to hire outside resources, or take quite a while to complete.

Class 4: A shadow IT project (an effort equal to or greater than 90). Your project is typically performed by technology professionals within enterprises.