People Empowerment: How to Guarantee Success in Improvement Initiatives

John Civerolo

These days, nearly everyone knows about "empowerment." The idea of getting improved business results by empowering people isn’t novel, or even controversial, anymore. And why should it be? There are lots of examples of successful companies and improvement programs that would have only worked with an empowered workforce. People Empowerment is one of the best ways to involve employees in any improvement program. To be successful, a People Empowerment process must recognize, congratulate, and reward employees for their commitment to a "problem solving and corrective action" way of doing business.

However, too often many companies are very unsuccessful in implementing a People Empowerment program.

Why? A variety of reasons:

The purpose of this article is to show how to prevent the above problems and answer 4 specific questions. They are:

  1. What are the key elements & prerequisites required to empower people?
  2. Once empowered, what should the people do?
  3. What authority do they have?
  4. Are their actions directly linked to the business objectives?

Your company’s People Empowerment efforts don’t have to turn sour, and your people don’t have to be disappointed, frustrated, angry, or turned off. The keys to success are in some practical prerequisites listed below. Build them into the planning for your next improvement initiative. They will help guarantee success.

Build these prerequisites into your improvement and empowerment programs. To ensure your foundation remains strong, go back periodically and review them. "We've done it once" isn’t enough to ensure ongoing improvement.

We’ve helped implement many successful People Empowerment processes. If you really want an empowered work force that can contribute to your company’s World Class, Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing Excellence, Synchronous Flow, Continuous Improvement, and/or Class A MRP II objectives, don't even think about starting without honoring these principles.



If you have specific questions about this article or want to discuss it, call Chris Gray at 603 778-9211.   

The Partners for Excellence specialize in helping companies set up comprehensive measurement programs and improving overall resource management performance.  Contact us at 1 603 528-0840 or email