There is something about team work which is important in the society today. I glanced through the other day, on a newspaper article, regarding how workers nowadays do not need to be micro-managed. Instead the managers is suppose to provide room and space for the worker to enable them to demonstrate their ability and facilitate their creative thinking to be brought into an organization. Often time, the idea provided by this empowered workers may turn out to be one of those that has the most impact to the organization.
Apparently there is a story in the company 3M regarding the glue that they are trying to develop turns out to be a flop. The glue is suppose to be tough and sticky, however it turned out the opposite. The creative idea here was to re-use this to create post-it-notes. And today, the post it notes is one of the most popular tool in office. See how a flop turns out to be a multi million product with a stroke of creativeness. I bet that didn't come from top management. I am not discounting the contribution of top management here by the way, but, to emphasize the vast possibility that may come from the workers working on the floor and are in fact the subject matter expert (at least in what they are doing). Soliciting their ideas is a MUST.
Some of the advantages of empowering workers and managers as team lead and motivator are:
1. Free flow of new idea from the worker who is on the ground level performing the job day in and day out.
2. Creative ideas (and sometimes not so creative ones) flows out from every level on the work floor. This gives an opportunity for the expert who is doing the work to be able to tell what is the best way to get something done. Traditionally, this has always been held by managers, but time has changed now and most knowledge workers will appreciate this.
3. We are at a Knowledge Economy where work is not limited to what the hand can do, but rather what does the head knows that turns out solution for the client. Client wants solution at the end of the day and company is selling them solution to their every day problems. Empowering thinker from every level in the company does create a little 'structure-upset' but, it improves the overall idea that is flowing out from an organization. Imagine 5 heads thinking compared to 50 heads. The 50 heads scenario, by normal rule should churn out more solutions.
4. Motivation to workers that indirectly promotes the organization. Motivated workers will produce much more compared to de-motivated ones. And more than often, people will be attracted to work for this organizations, either from word of mouth or by recommendation one to one. Knowledge Economy worker appreciates that they are able to voice out and their voice and contribution at least being heard and understood.
5. Friendship - I believe in this. People who help other people to become successful. The world is no longer how we keep knowledge to ourselves. It is no longer scarcity of information or knowledge. Now the knowledge is abundance. How are we going to empower team members to learn from one another and to create a network of learning workers who enrich each other by open sharing and open learning from one another. 1 head learns just this much, but 10 heads learn 10 times as much and as fast as each person master a subject and train the rest. This will also create a positive working culture and also enrich each other to a healthy knowledge gaining society instead of a worrying knowledge scarcity society. This in turn will create a long lasting bond and friendship.
Well, team culture is here to stay I say and if Malaysia is going for Vision 2020, we better cultivate the team spirit fast...