Leader Discussions Live:
Manager Empowerment with Suresh Radhakrishnan of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Exchange Results Jan 10, 2019

Suresh Radhakrishnan

HR Services Section Manager

Q: What are some thoughts and questions about the discussion with Suresh Radhakrishnan?

What are some actionable items that came as a result of the Thoughtexchanges? How often do you have these per year?


The questions that came up about empowerment actually generated some discussions about what exactly our current policies and procedures are. So, the senior management team has been looking at specific directives of clarity that they can give to some of the questions asked. - Suresh Radhakrishnan

Did you have leaders question the vulnerability of this tool? Express fear or anxiety about not knowing what may appear?


We definitely had managers come up and say, 'Listen man, if you put this out there, people are going to say things, and are we ready for that?'. Part of the response to that is, they're already thinking it anyway. And they're definitely talking about it at the water cooler and the lunch table. Why not make it open, so we can address it and deal with it, rather than pretending it's not happening. - Suresh Radhakrishnan

What were some of the challenges you experienced in getting Thoughtexchange integrated into your organization?


Getting over the initial inertia. Finding a few champions who are willing to take a chance at being vulnerable. Convincing all that Thoughtexchange is strictly anonymous. Creating a safe environment. Challenge is to see the follow through on ideas that were brought up. Work in-progress. - Suresh Radhakrishnan

Are you seeing cultural shifts as you use Thoughtexchange to collaborate in your company. It seems to me that when people are feeling heard, they become more trustful and engaged. Are you seeing this and other shifts?


The eternal optimist in me sees that. The realist knows it will be years before we really feel the impact and know for sure. It feels good. Looks great. Seems to suit the direction we are heading in. If it looks like a duck, it just might be. A thought! - Suresh Radhakrishnan

Have you used Thoughtexchange for strategic planning?



Not yet, but the discussions and exchanges we have run so far is providing fuel to the discussions for the next round. - Suresh Radhakrishnan

What culture shift have you experienced through using TX to explore empowerment? Asking because the topics of empowerment, engagement, being heard all speak to the culture in which employees work.


Having a COO who clearly articulates the need for empowerment, accountability and innovation/performance, gives everyone clarity on the marching orders and direction of the company. - Suresh Radhakrishnan

What are you learning as a leader as you deepen and expand collaborative processes in your company?


Work-life is a lot more fun when you have supportive courageous bosses who are willing to take a calculated risk. It also helps to have staff who are willing to go out on a limb with you on a learning journey, and have some fun doing it—with Thoughtexchange. - Suresh Radhakrishnan

Was it difficult to get people on board with using Thoughtexchange?


The process is so simple and easy to use. Onboarding and using Thoughtexchange was not a problem. Thanks to tremendous support from Amy Pol, Kevin Skelcher and others. - Suresh Radhakrishnan

What are some of the next ways you anticipate using Thoughtexchange?


Working with intact teams whose managers show courage to step up and be vulnerable. We provide facilitation and guidance and partner with them to have a successful experience with Thoughtexchange. - Suresh Radhakrishnan

Do you find you need to think about timing of when to use this solution? For Employment engagement, HR strategy has been to survey people when they are feeling at their best.


Still working out those issues. So far the idea has been to work with the willing and able first and let the BBQ effect drive demand. - Suresh Radhakrishnan

How did the process of cutting multiple levels of approval out of the picture increase employee satisfaction? Did they feel they had more ownership on these ideas


Still a work in progress. Just voicing those concerns in the open has made a change in awareness and slowly starting to impact behavior. - Suresh Radhakrishnan

What format do you find Thoughtexchange works best? group meetings or sent to individuals to answer.


Both can work. Depends on the group and the issues you're trying to deal with. - Suresh Radhakrishnan

Did you find an increase in morale among the staff after using Thoughtexchange? High morale is important in every aspect of running a business.


Have not measured it recently. There is a general sense of caring and forward movement. - Suresh Radhakrishnan

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