empowerment

verb (used with object)

  1. to give power or authority to; authorize, especially by legal or official means
  2. 2. to enable or permit

A venue I worked at recently had a very proficuous security system to allow access to backstage and dressing rooms. You needed to have a credential with your name and function on you at all times, displayed visibly, and show it to the security guy every time you come thru the stage door. Normal, you’d say. Then, to get into the dressing room I shared with two other team members, we needed a key. That key was to be used to close the dressing room every time we used it, and left at security, in a counter two meters in front of the door of the dressing room. For some weird reason, the security guy had only one of the names of the three persons using that dressing room on his list, so even if I had a credential, and I manage the team on tour, I couldn’t get in to the dressing room where I had my stuff. That was easily sorted with the help of the venue’s staff, who had the two other names inserted into the security’s clearance list. But we had to trouble people, and lost time.

Last week, showing a piece at Dansens Hus in Stockholm, a very different approach to artists access to the venue.

Being a team of 18, it gets complicated to assure everyone’s access to all areas the different people need to access during their stay. Production team has it’s needs, technicians theirs, artistic team some others. Everyone is doing their thing on different places, so some systems might get complicated.

The good people of Sweden base their relations on confidence, and that can be observed in shops and services, where you pick up your items and are expected to pay for them before leaving, without supervision. A mirage, if compared to the way we work on the south.

At Dansens Hus everyone gets a key to the doors they need to open while using the space. Me, I had access to doors from the stage entrance to the front of the venue.

Just swipe a key on a pad, it opens. No one asks questions. Better, there is no one to ask questions.

When asked if we could go back to the dressing rooms for our stuff on a saturday – closed venue – the answer from their producers was “yes, but you may need a flashlight”, as in saying  the venue is closed, so the lights are out, there is no alarm set, but you have the power to come in anyway, we trust you.

This is a very easy way to empower people and create change. Giving straight forward all areas access also gives you increased responsibility and a sense of belonging, owning even, like you are – as you are – a stockholder for that business, and it’s success is also your responsibility.

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