Transparency and empowerment are related. For example, I was talking with some workers at a factory putting an assembly together. I asked the line leader, “What is that assembly used for?”
The line leader said, “I don’t know.” He had finished 80 already that day and who knows how many that month.
We can and must do a lot better than this. Surely workers need more empowerment than ‘Put the screw in here’. Workers who work for me do not seek to leave and ruin me as I see them and develop them. I do not hire or develop people who cannot respond to such efforts. They must be kept out. Further, hiring good leaders who care for workers creates loyalty, so getting proper leadership is key. Treating your hires right is critical too. That begins how they will treat and see you and your organization. Further, people who interview well are not the right leaders in most cases. Interviewing skills are often quite high when leadership is lacking. See also Executive Search in China.
Transparency and Empowerment are Really Tightly Related
As leaders, we need to think how to show office workers and every other worker how important and meaningful their work is. That is the opposite of keeping basic knowledge from them. We need to work to get them knowing and caring. See also, Transparency is the New Normal. Having the right leadership for your China team is critical for this. The right leadership will open up the information and empower. Actually, they open up to you and to their team in appropriate ways. Such excellent leaders are not that common. We not only find leaders who interview well, we also find leaders who really care for workers and empower.
Apple is well known for keeping a tight lid on new product developments. However, many people would be in on these sensitive elements. Only a team could develop features like they have. Finding the limits on transparency and getting there is so valuable. Empowering workers to understand why their job is valuable is critical to gaining their heart. Knowledge is a kind of empowerment through transparency. Transparency can get you to a bottom up culture. Toyota demonstrates the value of such cultures.
You need to achieve maximum buy in from your workers on the floor and in the office. We all know that line workers at Toyota know exactly what they are making. They make improvements on the line as have a deeper understanding of what the internal customer and final customer want. Toyota is great because everyone is thinking with all they have and not just the top office. So their turnover is lower and even managers who leave do not leave to bankrupt Toyota. You can get there too with the right hiring in China.