Inspiring Goodies: empowerment vs autonomy, is IC management consultancy and freedom in a framework


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This was an interesting month for inspiration as I found myself focused on the results of my line manager research and my book launch events. The line manager research has thrown up 12 key things for organisations to consider and my online book launch event included some interesting questions about internal communication and the role it plays in organisations today.

Empowerment and autonomy are not the same thing

This was a theme that came up in one of my Clubhouse conversations and our Line of Sight research findings into line managers supported my thinking. I think we confuse the two words and often mean autonomy when we say empowerment. My Clubhouse co-moderator, Jim Egan, shared this article with me and I spent some time looking at other blog posts here too – it is packed with some great content that I’m sure will inspire your thinking.

I particularly like the definition shared; “Autonomy is the freedom to act and to make our own choices. Empowerment is the granting of political, social or economic power.”

Is internal communication management consultancy?

This was a question that came up at my online book launch. It was from an attendee who has read part of my book and wanted to explore more about where I think internal communication can add value. I do believe that internal communication, by definition, is everything that gets said and shared inside an organisation. As a function, its role is to curate, enable and advise on best practice for organisations to communicate effectively, efficiently and in an engaging way.

This isn’t the first time someone has linked management consultancy to the work I do. My answer? I’m not sure we need to put things into distinct buckets. I’m there to make work more efficient and more engaging – if that is what management consultants do too, then I guess the answer is yes!

Freedom within a framework

It might be a few years old, but I have enjoyed reading The Trust Factor by Paul J Zak. In the book, Paul references “freedom within a framework” and it’s one that I first heard from my Clubhouse co-moderator Jim Egan earlier this year too.

As conversations around hybrid working continue, this is a great phrase to keep top of mind. I have been speaking at online events and on podcasts about this topic and keeping it simple is one of the best pieces of advice I can offer.

If you want to hear more about some of my thoughts on hybrid working you can check out the CIPR Engage podcast episode three, where I interview three panellists about the topic and what it really means for organisations.

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