Friday, December 7, 2012

Lean Quote: Empowerment Unlocks Hidden Potential

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Empowerment allows an organisation to unlock the hidden potential in its workforce." — Adrian Guttridge, Manager, Andersen Consulting

Empowerment may not be a new concept to you, but many organisations experience problems because they don’t know how to ‘live it’. It is still too common for ‘delegation’ and ‘empowerment’ to be confused, and for the latter to be regarded as something you can use over somebody else, like having authority. 

Empowerment is not delegation because:  

Empowerment is where the organisation has enabled or coached the employee and now continues to support that person within the scope of his or her own work, as previously agreed

Delegation is about giving away parts of your own job to someone else; it is not about giving people scope within their own jobs 

However, the processes involved in delegating should be similar to those for empowering. With empowerment, accountability and responsibility rest with the person empowered. With delegation, responsibility can be passed on but accountability for ensuring the work is done stays with the person who delegated the task.

An empowered organisation encourages the entire company to believe in empowerment and checks to see that the ‘infrastructure’ for empowerment is in place.



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