CEO COLUMN

Published Apr-2023, [No.287]
Subject Why can't you entrust it?

The chairman of a large corporation was playing golf at the company-owned golf course when he thought it would be nice to plant pine trees around the 17th tee box to make it more beautiful. He called in a golf course management executive and asked, "How can we make the 17th hole more beautiful and impressive?" They discussed various ideas for a while, and then the executive suggested, "How about planting some pine trees, sir?" The chairman replied, "That's a great idea. Let's do that."

One of the companions said, "Why bother with discussions and opinions when you could simply give orders to plant the pine trees?" The chairman responded, "If you simply follow orders, you lose motivation and it becomes boring. People work harder and feel more energized when they are doing something that incorporates their own ideas."

That's right. With the advent of the era of creativity, 'Delegation of authority' has become more important than ever as a virtue of leaders. This is also why 'PIXAR', a world-renowned animation film company, has become known as the world's most creative organization, thanks to its delegation of authority. In a Weekly Biz interview, CEO Catmull said, "The concern of managers should not be solely on staying in control. This ruins everything. But when making decisions without seeking anyone's permission, many employees will solve the problem themselves." "There is no dedication without participation. When people participate in a problem, they devote themselves with sincerity and seriousness to find a solution." This is the lesson we can learn.


Delegation of authority is translated into Delegation of Authority and Empowerment in English, the former can be divided into 'Official delegation' and the latter into 'Informal delegation'. This can be done through external delegation, where the legislative branch (the National Assembly) delegates power to the executive branch through methods such as enforcement orders and regulations, as well as internal delegation, where a higher-level agency delegates power to a lower-level agency or manager. An example of successful delegation can be seen in the recent expansion of the authority to lift the Green Belt development restriction to areas with a 300,000 or less, which was decided at the Central and Local Government Cooperation Conference held on February 10th. Local governments have also been delegated significant power in 57 different areas across six fields, allowing them to actively and proactively develop policies tailored to their regions and usher in a true era of local autonomy.

Empowerment mentioned in the context of businesses refers to informal delegation of authority, which occurs arbitrarily between higher-level managers and lower-level managers, or between managers and subordinates, as the organization expands in size. As can be seen in household examples, if parents do everything for their children from a young age, the children become unable to do anything on their own, and the parents become exhausted from caring for them. To raise children with proper responsibility, they must be given some tasks and responsibilities so that they can learn to do things on their own.

The delegation of authority in businesses allows first, the CEO and higher-level managers to focus on more important tasks by reducing their workload, second, lower-level managers to increase their job capabilities and develop a sense of ownership by processing tasks under their own responsibilities, and third, a decentralized management system that involves everyone to enhance efficiency and effectiveness compared to centralized management system.


The key to empowerment is not simply 'giving responsibility and authority,' but rather giving a sense of ownership in the work. It's about instilling a sense of ownership in the tasks at hand. When individuals feel that they can grow their expertise and specialize in their field, they are more likely to have a greater passion for their work and generate a wider range of ideas. Principle-centered leadership is about instilling a sense of 'ownership' to the point where individuals feel they are the owners themselves, giving meaning and philosophy to their work. It is not about giving a sense of obligation to do the work (persuasion and acceptance), but rather giving a sense of ownership, making the work one's own.

The reason why delegation of authority is difficult is because of the preconception that subordinates cannot be trusted and are not reliable. The belief that "They cannot do better than me and have no sense of responsibility" leads to the tendency to take care of even minor things and to want to directly check what they are doing. However, this approach means that the subordinate is not doing their own work, but rather the boss's work. When a problem arises, they tend to report it to their superior and wait for instructions, rather than finding a solution themselves. There is a 'Law of total energy in an organization', and if a leader takes care of even small tasks, their energy may increase, but members of the organization will be neglected and their energy will decrease.


As the level of trust decreases, communication becomes closed, problem-solving ability decreases, and cooperation and teamwork deteriorate. The level of trust refers to feelings such as "I can trust you," "you are a person who admits their mistakes," "you have an open and learning attitude," and "you are a person who keeps their promises." The best way to establish trust among organizational members is to write a mission statement and align in one direction based on it. Company should come together to create a company mission statement that contains their vision and business strategy, and continue to practice it to clearly indicate the direction in which the company is headed. Subordinate organizations can create and implement departmental mission statements containing specific tactics for executing the company mission statement, to achieve maximum business performance.

In order to build trust among members of an organization, individual reliability must be established first. Reliability is a combination of personality and capability, representing who you are as a person and what you are capable of doing. Personality can be summarized as sincerity, maturity, and abundance mentality.

Sincerity means planning and prioritizing your own values proactively and practicing meaningful promises and commitments while continually developing self-awareness and self-worth. Maturity can be summarized as a balance between courageously expressing one's own emotions and beliefs while considering the emotions and beliefs of others. Having an abundance mentality means realizing that there are enough resources in this world for everyone to live and that there is infinite potential for positive interaction, growth, and development.

In conclusion, by learning and practicing the '7 Habits of Highly Effective People' which are the core of our LCC Mind Education, one can establish these habits as their own and become successful.


Kind and honest people can become 'useless' in their workplace and eventually be pushed out due to a lack of professional competence and reliability appropriate for their position and field. Just as we cannot entrust our bodies to a doctor with good character but lacking medical expertise, we must have both character and competence to secure reliability and move towards 'mutual trust' with others. Therefore, one must continuously learn through job experience, read books, take advantage of educational opportunities, and attend various lectures to broaden one's perspective and continue to develop competence and improve work skills.

Superiors should boldly delegate "trust-based delegation" to their subordinates, even if it takes more time, to create an environment where their competence can be enhanced through failure and experience. Subordinates must strive to establish trust with their superiors by securing reliability through diligence and responsibility, and developing their work capabilities, to avoid repeated 'directive delegation.'

When the atmosphere of mutual trust between superiors and subordinates becomes commonplace in delegating work, subordinates' competence will improve and superiors will be able to focus on more important tasks with the time they have secured through delegation, resulting in maximum management performance.




CEO BAIK, SUNGCHUN


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