At the heart of any organization are knowledgeable and capable employees wanting to make a difference. It reminds me of a sign I saw in a production facility that read: “Ya Gotta Wanna.” That says it all. Stephen Covey defines a habit as the intersection of knowledge (understanding what to do and why to do it), skill (knowing how to do it) and desire (wanting to do it). Furthermore, I support replacing the word empowerment with “allowment,” as proposed in the book, Thoughtware, because it recognizes that employees must first be entitled before they reach allowment. It’s about employees reaching a level of understanding by taking on the information, skills and authority needed for ongoing improvement and being accountable for results. “The worst thing you can do is empower the organization that is not entitled to be empowered.” According to the definition from the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, workforce engagement:

Figure 1.1: Maturity levels of continuous improvement process (CIP)

“…refers to the extent of workforce commitment, both emotional and intellectual, to accomplishing the work, mission, and vision of the organization. Organizations with high levels of workforce engagement are often characterized by high-performing work environments in which people are motivated to do their utmost for the benefit of their customers and for the success of the organization.

“In general, members of the workforce feel engaged when they find personal meaning and motivation in their work and when they receive positive interpersonal and workplace support. An engaged workforce benefits from trusting relationships, a safe and cooperative environment, good communication and information flow, empowerment, and performance accountability.”

Tip from The Relativity of Continuous Improvement by Dr. Klaus Blache

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