Sports -- The Empowerment Model Everyone Can Understand


Schenck, Donald A.   (1992, ASQC)   Siemens Industrial Automation, Inc., Johnson City, TN 37601

Annual Quality Congress, Nashville TN    Vol. 46    No. 0
QICID: 9928    May 1992    pp. 1013-1020
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Article Abstract

Finding a mature empowerment benchmark in industry is difficult. The author turns to amateur athletic competition to provide a workable model.

This model relies on as clear and compelling a vision of the goal as that of winning a basketball game. It requires a definition of success with obvious consequences. Performance feedback is critical -- all players must know the score. The rules of play must be clear. If every individual is valued, every individual will contribute to the goal (a point guard may not score many points, but you wouldn't want to play without one). Authority must be distributed, not delegated -- the coach decides on the starting players, but each player can call a time out Amateur sports amply demonstrate the synergy between individual and team initiative in ways that business would do well to emulate. Motivation, high in amateur sports despite their lack of monetary compensation, must view the employee holistically. A support structure of "coaches," "substitutes" and training must be also present.

This effort results in a workforce that responds accurately. Its dispersed decision-making supports individual and organizational goals, providing balance. Empowerment is well worth the effort, since it is thoroughly a win-win situation.


Sports,Vision,Siemens Industrial Automation,Empowerment,Modeling

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