Employee empowerment

is a term used to express the ways in which non-

managerial staff can make autonomous decisions without consulting a boss/manager. These self-willed decisions can be small or large depending upon the degree of power with which the company wishes to invest employees. Employee empowerment can begin with training and converting a whole company to an empowerment model. Conversely it may merely mean giving employees the ability to make some decisions on their own. There are employee empowerment workshops, books and articles. There is even a magazine called Empowerment that can help a company converting to employee driven decision-making. The thinking behind employee empowerment is that it gives power to the individual and thus makes for happier employees. By offering employees choice and participation on a more responsible level, the employees are more invested in their company, and view themselves as a representative of such. For employee empowerment to work successfully, the management team must be truly committed to allowing employees to make decisions. They may wish to define the scope of decisions made. Building decision-making teams is often one of the models used in employee empowerment, because it allows for managers and workers to contribute ideas toward directing the company. Autocratic managers, who are micromanagers, tend not to be able to utilize employee empowerment. These types of managers tend to oversee all aspects of others’ work, and usually will not give up control. A manager dedicated to employee empowerment must be willing to give up control of some aspects of work production. When employees feel as though they have choice and can make direct decisions, this does often lead to a greater feeling of self-worth. In a model where power is closely tied to sense of self, having some power is a valuable thing. An employee who does not feel constantly watched and criticized is more likely to consider work as a positive environment, rather than a negative one. One easy way to begin employee empowerment in the workplace is to install a suggestion box, where workers can make suggestions without fear of punishment or retribution. However, simply placing a suggestion box somewhere is only the first step. Managers must then be willing to read and consider suggestions. They might provide a forum where questions or suggestions receive a response, like a weekly or monthly newsletter. In

addition, managers can hold a once monthly meeting open to employees where all suggestions are addressed. At least some suggestions have to be approved in order for employees to feel that they are having some impact on their company. Failure to approve or implement any suggestions reinforces that all the power belongs to the managers and not the workers. Employee empowerment of any form can only work when managers are willing to be open to new ideas and strategies. If no such willingness exists, employee empowerment is likely to be non-existent. Employee Empowerment: How to Empower Employees Employee empowerment is a strategy and philosophy that enables employees to make decisions about their jobs. Employee empowerment helps employees own their work and take responsibility for their results. Employee empowerment helps employees serve customers at the level of the organization where the customer interface exists. Top 10 Principles of Employee Empowerment The Credo of an Empowering Manager Looking for real management advice about people? Your goal is to create a work environment in which people are empowered, productive, contributing, and happy. Don't hobble them by limiting their tools or information. Trust them to do the right thing. Get out of their way and watch them catch fire. These are the ten most important principles for managing people in a way that reinforces employee empowerment, accomplishment, and contribution. These management actions enable both the people who work with you and the people who report to you to soar. 1. Demonstrate You Value People Your regard for people shines through in all of your actions and words. Your facial expression, your body language, and your words express what you are thinking about the people who report to you. Your goal is to demonstrate your appreciation for each person's unique value. No matter how an employee is performing on their current task, your value for the employee as a human being should never falter and always be visible. 2. Share Leadership Vision

Help people feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves and their individual job. Do this by making sure they know and have access to the organization's overall mission, vision, and strategic plans. 3. Share Goals and Direction Share the most important goals and direction for your group. Where possible, either make progress on goals measurable and observable, or ascertain that you have shared your picture of a positive outcome with the people responsible for accomplishing the results. 4. Trust People Trust the intentions of people to do the right thing, make the right decision, and make choices that, while maybe not exactly what you would decide, still work. 5. Provide Information for Decision Making Make certain that you have given people, or made sure that they have access to, all of the information they need to make thoughtful decisions. 6. Delegate Authority and Impact Opportunities, Not Just More Work Don't just delegate the drudge work; delegate some of the fun stuff, too. You know, delegate the important meetings, the committee memberships that influence product development and decision making, and the projects that people and customers notice. The employee will grow and develop new skills. Your plate will be less full so you can concentrate on contribution. Your reporting staff will gratefully shine - and so will you. 7. Provide Frequent Feedback Provide frequent feedback so that people know how they are doing. Sometimes, the purpose of feedback is reward and recognition. People deserve your constructive feedback, too, so they can continue to develop their knowledge and skills. 8. Solve Problems: Don't Pinpoint Problem People When a problem occurs, ask what is wrong with the work system that caused the people to fail, not what is wrong with the people. Worst case response to problems? Seek to identify and punish the guilty. (Thank you, Dr. Deming.) 9. Listen to Learn and Ask Questions to Provide Guidance Provide a space in which people will communicate by listening to them and asking them questions. Guide by asking questions, not by telling grown up people what to do. People generally know the right answers if they have the opportunity to produce them. When an

employee brings you a problem to solve, ask, "what do you think you should do to solve this problem?" Or, ask, "what action steps do you recommend?" Employees can demonstrate what they know and grow in the process. 10. Help Employees Feel Rewarded and Recognized for Empowered Behavior When employees feel under-compensated, under-titled for the responsibilities they take on, under-noticed, under-praised, and under-appreciated, don’t expect results from employee empowerment. The basic needs of employees must feel met for employees to give you their discretionary energy, that extra effort that people voluntarily invest in work. Employee empowerment is a two sided coin. For employees to be empowered the management leadership must want and believe that employee empowerment makes good business sense and employees must act. Let us be clear about one thing immediately, employee empowerment does not mean that management no longer has the responsibility to lead the organization and is not responsible for performance. If anything the opposite is true. Stronger leadership and accountability is demanded in an organization that seeks to empower employees. This starts with the executive leadership, through all management levels and includes front line supervisors. It is only when the entire organization is willing to work as a team that the real benefits of employee empowerment are realized. For an organization to practice and foster employee empowerment the management must trust and communicate with employees. Employee communication is one of the strongest signs of employee empowerment. Honest and repeated communication from elements of the strategic plan, key performance indicators, financial performance, down to daily decision making. If an organization has not be actively cultivating employee empowerment, it may take considerable time and effort before employees start to respond. Often the first efforts and communications are met with employee derision and mockery. Those who are only interested in trying the latest management fad will give up when met with this response. A good rule of thumb for communications to employees is to enumerate what management considers adequate and then multiple by a factor of ten. When considering employee understanding and acceptance of decisions consider how long it takes for the management team to discuss and then make a decision. Allow several multiples of this time for employees to think about the issue.

For management wanting employee empowerment the evidence will not come across the board with wide spread acceptance. A small number will accept the invitation to become more involved, say 3-5 per cent. The rest will be watching every move to see what happens. Every communication, decision and action by management will be viewed as either supporting a move to employee empowerment or not. Probably nothing demonstrates the commitment or lack of commitment to employee empowerment more than promotions and selection for leadership positions. Employees know those that attempt to “shine up while dumping down”. For an organization to enjoy the returns from employee empowerment the leadership must diligently work to create the work environment where it is obvious to all that employee empowerment is desired, wanted and cultivated. Management’s responsibility is to create the environment for employee empowerment. When organizational leadership has started to take actions to encourage employee empowerment it is then up to the employees to decided if they wish to take advantage of the opportunity or not. It is not unusual for only a small minority to accept the challenge initially. Also it is very likely that some fraction will never respond. It is the large middle group that must be convinced to practice employee empowerment. It is our conviction that most organizations have exactly the level of employee empowerment the management wants. This is demonstrated by the amount of communications, level of training provided employees, opportunities for personal growth, the solicitation and implementation of ideas, the recognition and reward system, promotion and advancement criteria, and uncountable little signals from management that demonstrate whether employees are valued or not. When Six Sigma is deployed in an organization employees have numerous opportunities to demonstrate that they are empowered. Unless there is employee motivation to accept and act on the opportunities little will change. Employee empowerment is evidenced by working with a six sigma project team to understand the changes coming out of the project. Being a participant using improvements found by others is a form of empowerment. Employee can demonstrate empowerment by suggesting areas or processes that might be candidates for a six sigma project. Part of employee empowerment is the recognition by

management that often people who most know of pressing needs for improvement are those who have to work in the process. Employee empowerment can take the form of being asked to bring expert knowledge to six sigma projects. Even if not a full time member of the project team the fact that competence and first hand experience are valued and an employee is willing to help demonstrates a level of empowerment. The employee can volunteer to serve on a project team as a Green Belt. This usually means that the employee has some subject matter expertise in the process scoped for a project. By completing the Green Belt training the employees will learn the Fundamental Improvement tools and will learn how to use the Define Measure Analyze Improve and Control steps as part of problem solving. With this additional skill sets the empowerment of the employee is increased, they are able to work more effectively and efficiently in solving problems and providing potential solutions. Employees can make it know that they would like to become Black Belts. This form of employee empowerment assumes that the employee has the necessary skills and ability to complete the Black Belt training. Usually this means a college level education with comfort in mathematics and if not some statistical understanding a willingness to learn. One of the strongest signs from employees is when they take the lead to advance their skills and knowledge with education and training either provided by the organization or out side the organization. Management has the obligation to create the environment that fosters employee empowerment, employees have the duty to accept the opportunity and demonstrate they are willing and capable. Introduction to Motivation At one time, employees were considered just another input into the production of goods and services. What perhaps changed this way of thinking about employees was research, referred to as the Hawthorne Studies, conducted by Elton Mayo from 1924 to 1932 (Dickson, 1973). This study found employees are not motivated solely by money and employee behavior is linked to their attitudes (Dickson, 1973). The Hawthorne Studies began the human relations approach to management, whereby the needs and motivation of employees become the primary focus of managers (Bedeian, 1993).

Motivation Theories Understanding what motivated employees and how they were motivated was the focus of many researchers following the publication of the Hawthorne Study results (Terpstra, 1979). Five major approaches that have led to our understanding of motivation are Maslow's needhierarchy theory, Herzberg's two- factor theory, Vroom's expectancy theory, Adams' equity theory, and Skinner's reinforcement theory. According to Maslow, employees have five levels of needs (Maslow, 1943): physiological, safety, social, ego, and self- actualizing. Maslow argued that lower level needs had to be satisfied before the next higher level need would motivate employees. Herzberg's work categorized motivation into two factors: motivators and hygienes (Herzberg, Mausner, & Snyderman, 1959). Motivator or intrinsic factors, such as achievement and recognition, produce job satisfaction. Hygiene or extrinsic factors, such as pay and job security, produce job dissatisfaction. Vroom's theory is based on the belief that employee effort will lead to performance and performance will lead to rewards (Vroom, 1964). Rewards may be either positive or negative. The more positive the reward the more likely the employee will be highly motivated. Conversely, the more negative the reward the less likely the employee will be motivated. Adams' theory states that employees strive for equity between themselves and other workers. Equity is achieved when the ratio of employee outcomes over inputs is equal to other employee outcomes over inputs (Adams, 1965). Skinner's theory simply states those employees' behaviors that lead to positive outcomes will be repeated and behaviors that lead to negative outcomes will not be repeated (Skinner, 1953). Managers should positively reinforce employee behaviors that lead to positive outcomes. Managers should negatively reinforce employee behavior that leads to negative outcomes. Motivation Defined Many contemporary authors have also defined the concept of motivation. Motivation has been defined as: the psychological process that gives behavior purpose and direction (Kreitner, 1995); a predisposition to behave in a purposive manner to achieve specific, unmet needs (Buford, Bedeian, & Lindner, 1995); an internal drive to satisfy an unsatisfied

need (Higgins, 1994); and the will to achieve (Bedeian, 1993). For this paper, motivation is operationally defined as the inner force that drives individuals to accomplish personal and organizational goals. The Role of Motivation Why do we need motivated employees? The answer is survival (Smith, 1994). Motivated employees are needed in our rapidly changing workplaces. Motivated employees help organizations survive. Motivated employees are more productive. To be effective, managers need to understand what motivates employees within the context of the roles they perform. Of all the functions a manager performs, motivating employees is arguably the most complex. This is due, in part, to the fact that what motivates employees changes constantly (Bowen & Radhakrishna, 1991). For example, research suggests that as employees' income increases, money becomes less of a motivator (Kovach, 1987). Also, as employees get older, interesting work becomes more of a motivator. Purpose The purpose of this study was to describe the importance of certain factors in motivating employees at the Piketon Research and Extension Center and Enterprise Center. Specifically, the study sought to describe the ranked importance of the following ten motivating factors: (a) job security, (b) sympathetic help with personal problems, (c) personal loyalty to employees, (d) interesting work, (e) good working conditions, (f) tactful discipline, (g) good wages, (h) promotions and growth in the organization, (i) feeling of being in on things, and (j) full appreciation of work done. A secondary purpose of the study was to compare the results of this study with the study results from other populations. Methodology The research design for this study employed a descriptive survey method. The target population of this study included employees at the Piketon Research and Extension Center and Enterprise Center (centers). The sample size included all 25 employees of the target population. Twenty-three of the 25 employees participated in the survey for a participation rate of 92%. The centers are in Piketon, Ohio. The mission of the Enterprise Center is to facilitate individual and community leader awareness and provide assistance in preparing and accessing economic opportunities in southern Ohio. The Enterprise Center has three programs: alternatives in agriculture, small

business development, and women's business development. The mission of the Piketon Research and Extension Center is to conduct research and educational programs designed to enhance economic development in southern Ohio. The Piketon Research and Extension Center has five programs: aquaculture, community economic development, horticulture, forestry, and soil and water resources. From a review of literature, a survey questionnaire was developed to collect data for the study (Bowen & Radhakrishna, 1991; Harpaz, 1990; Kovach, 1987). Data was collected through use of a written questionnaire hand-delivered to participants. Questionnaires were filled out by participants and returned to an intra-departmental mailbox. The questionnaire asked participants to rank the importance of ten factors that motivated them in doing their work: 1=most important . . . 10=least important. Face and content validity for the instrument were established using two administrative and professional employees at The Ohio State University. The instrument was pilot tested with three similarly situated employees within the university. As a result of the pilot test, minor changes in word selection and instructions were made to the questionnaire. Results and Discussion The ranked order of motivating factors were: (a) interesting work, (b) good wages, (c) full appreciation of work done, (d) job security, (e) good working conditions, (f) promotions and growth in the organization, (g) feeling of being in on things, (h) personal loyalty to employees, (i) tactful discipline, and (j) sympathetic help with personal problems. A comparison of these results to Maslow's need-hierarchy theory provides some interesting insight into employee motivation. The number one ranked motivator, interesting work, is a self-actualizing factor. The number two ranked motivator, good wages, is a physiological factor. The number three ranked motivator, full appreciation of work done, is an esteem factor. The number four ranked motivator, job security, is a safety factor. Therefore, according to Maslow (1943), if managers wish to address the most important motivational factor of Centers' employees, interesting work, physiological, safety, social, and esteem factors must first be satisfied. If managers wished to address the second most important motivational factor of centers' employees, good pay, increased pay would suffice. Contrary to what Maslow's theory suggests, the range of motivational factors are mixed in this study.

Maslow's conclusions that lower level motivational factors must be met before ascending to the next level were not confirmed by this study. The following example compares the highest ranked motivational factor (interesting work) to Vroom's expectancy theory. Assume that a Centers employee just attended a staff meeting where he/she learned a major emphasis would be placed on seeking additional external program funds. Additionally, employees who are successful in securing funds will be given more opportunities to explore their own research and extension interests (interesting work). Employees who do not secure additional funds will be required to work on research and extension programs identified by the director. The employee realizes that the more research he/she does regarding funding sources and the more proposals he/she writes, the greater the likelihood he/she will receive external funding. Because the state legislature has not increased appropriations to the centers for the next two years (funds for independent research and extension projects will be scaled back), the employee sees a direct relationship between performance (obtaining external funds) and rewards (independent research and Extension projects). Further, the employee went to work for the centers, in part, because of the opportunity to conduct independent research and extension projects. The employee will be motivated if he/she is successful in obtaining external funds and given the opportunity to conduct independent research and extension projects. On the other hand, motivation will be diminished if the employee is successful in obtaining external funds and the director denies the request to conduct independent research and Extension projects. The following example compares the third highest ranked motivational factor (full appreciation of work done) to Adams's equity theory. If an employee at the centers feels that there is a lack of appreciation for work done, as being too low relative to another employee, an inequity may exist and the employee will be dis-motivated. Further, if all the employees at the centers feel that there is a lack of appreciation for work done, inequity may exist. Adams (1965) stated employees will attempt to restore equity through various means, some of which may be counter- productive to organizational goals and objectives. For instance, employees who feel their work is not being appreciated may work less or undervalue the work of other employees.

This final example compares the two highest motivational factors to Herzberg's two-factor theory. The highest ranked motivator, interesting work, is a motivator factor. The second ranked motivator, good wages is a hygiene factor. Herzberg, Mausner, & Snyderman (1959) stated that to the degree that motivators are present in a job, motivation will occur. The absence of motivators does not lead to dissatisfaction. Further, they stated that to the degree that hygienes are absent from a job, dissatisfaction will occur. When present, hygienes prevent dissatisfaction, but do not lead to satisfaction. In our example, the lack of interesting work (motivator) for the centers' employees would not lead to dissatisfaction. Paying centers' employees lower wages (hygiene) than what they believe to be fair may lead to job dissatisfaction. Conversely, employees will be motivated when they are doing interesting work and but will not necessarily be motivated by higher pay. The discussion above, about the ranked importance of motivational factors as related to motivational theory, is only part of the picture. The other part is how these rankings compare with related research. A study of industrial employees, conducted by Kovach (1987), yielded the following ranked order of motivational factors: (a) interesting work, (b) full appreciation of work done, and (c) feeling of being in on things. Another study of employees, conducted by Harpaz (1990), yielded the following ranked order of motivational factors: (a) interesting work, (b) good wages, and (c) job security. In this study and the two cited above, interesting work ranked as the most important motivational factor. Pay was not ranked as one of the most important motivational factors by Kovach (1987), but was ranked second in this research and by Harpaz (1990). Full appreciation of work done was not ranked as one of the most important motivational factors by Harpaz (1990), but was ranked second in this research and by Kovach (1987). The discrepancies in these research findings supports the idea that what motivates employees differs given the context in which the employee works. What is clear, however, is that employees rank interesting work as the most important motivational factor. Implications for Centers and Extension The ranked importance of motivational factors of employees at the centers provides useful information for the centers' director and employees. Knowing how to use this information in motivating centers' employees is complex. The strategy for motivating centers' employees depends on which motivation theories are used as a reference point. If Hertzberg's theory

is followed, management should begin by focusing on pay and job security (hygiene factors) before focusing on interesting work and full appreciation of work done (motivator factors). If Adams' equity theory is followed, management should begin by focusing on areas where there may be perceived inequities (pay and full appreciation of work done) before focusing on interesting work and job security. If Vroom's theory is followed, management should begin by focusing on rewarding (pay and interesting work) employee effort in achieving organizational goals and objectives. Regardless of which theory is followed, interesting work and employee pay appear to be important links to higher motivation of centers' employees. Options such as job enlargement, job enrichment, promotions, internal and external stipends, monetary, and non-monetary compensation should be considered. Job enlargement can be used (by managers) to make work more interesting (for employees) by increasing the number and variety of activities performed. Job enrichment can used to make work more interesting and increase pay by adding higher level responsibilities to a job and providing monetary compensation (raise or stipend) to employees for accepting this responsibility. These are just two examples of an infinite number of methods to increase motivation of employees at the centers. The key to motivating centers' employees is to know what motivates them and designing a motivation program based on those needs. The results presented in this paper also have implications for the entire Cooperative Extension Sysyem. The effectiveness of Extension is dependent upon the motivation of its employees (Chesney, 1992; Buford, 1990; Smith, 1990). Knowing what motivates employees and incorporating this knowledge into the reward system will help Extension identify, recruit, employ, train, and retain a productive workforce. Motivating Extension employees requires both managers and employees working together (Buford, 1993). Extension employees must be willing to let managers know what motivates them, and managers must be willing to design reward systems that motivate employees. Survey results, like those presented here, are useful in helping Extension managers determine what motivates employees (Bowen & Radhakrishna, 1991). If properly designed reward systems are not implemented, however, employees will not be motivated. Employee motivation and employee empowerment are part of employee development.

The next step is to add employee motivation, employee empowerment and employee development to our business model. Every business and work process eventually requires that people make decisions to do the right thing. For employees to act appropriately there must be employee motivation that is a natural growth from employee development and employee empowerment. Usually an active employee development training program is required to develop employee empowerment. As human beings we are all created with a free will and the capability to make decisions. When employees are not making the correct decisions, no matter how good the process or system, problems will soon develop. Active employee development and employee empowerment will help create the environment where employee motivation can develop so more of these decisions beneficial to your organization. Every level of needs to understand employee development and employee empowerment. A consistent training plan that starts with executive coaching and includes management training as well as supervisor training while offering leadership skills development for all employees will speed realization of empowered employees. There are an almost infinite number of small details that no one except the person actually doing the work can ever know. Without employee empowerment it is difficult to take advantage of this knowledge. All of this knowledge is valuable and waiting to be tapped for your organization's benefit. Many organizations make a halfhearted attempt at employee empowerment with the Suggestion Box that is never opened. The last one I had opened contained several gum wrappers and one suggestion; it was over six months old. While this may fool some into thinking they have an avenue for participation and employee empowerment, others are successfully tapping this resource. Frequently assumptions are made about employee attitude and willingness to participate based not on the actual employee motivation but employee reaction to the

way they are treated by supervision. In many organizations there is essentially no employee empowerment, no freedom to make even basic decisions. These same employees are community leaders, serve on church boards, are elected officials, do volunteer work, have their own businesses, and in a variety of other ways demonstrate a capability far above what is used in their work. What could happen to your business if through employee development and employee empowerment your employees brought the same dedication, effort and thought to work that they freely give away outside of work? Improvements in productivity of 25% to 50% have been demonstrated when employers are willing to engage their employee and create an environment where employee motivation is the norm not the exception.. The synergy of work processes /system improvements can be amazing. A proven effective way to get involvement is to focus on the cycle time of important work processes. Even with uninspired and hesitant team members it is common to have 35+% reductions in cycle time. The importance of cycle time reduction goes much deeper than just being able perform in a process in less time without adding effort. In an organization dedicated to learning how to improve itself, every cycle is an opportunity to learn and improve. An organization with a 33% advantage in cycle time not only has the advantage of lower costs (time is always money) and the ability to do more with the same or fewer resources but also they get three opportunities to learn for every two opportunities for their competitors. In soccer terms that is getting three shots on goal for every two from your opponent. Benefits continue to feed on themselves and the advantages grow bigger and bigger. Teaching people how to use relatively simple problem solving tools and techniques is the easy part of employee development. Usually after just a little training and experience with one or two work related problems the basic tools are mastered well enough for most to start using them on their own. Even high motivated employees need the necessary tools to do a good job. When placed in teams they are prepared to make use of the many specifics that only they know to improve products and work processes. If your organization is going to approach six sigma performance levels (less than 3.4

ppm error rate) you will have to get your employees actively involved using problem solving tools. Even the best training/development programs can not assure that all employees will get involved. One of the prime jobs of supervision and management is to create the climate and the systems for employee motivation. Organizations need empowered employees involved from the neck up and not just from the neck down. This is not to say that all will chose to do so. The obligation is provide the opportunity and the means. It is then the duty of the employee to take advantage of the employee development opportunity. Most employees when they believe in and trust their management/supervision will leap at the opportunity to make higher level contributions to the organization. In addition to basic problem solving skills training an employee development process is needed. This process should stimulate thinking and encourage employees to make positive change in their behavior, attitude and habits of thought about work. Frequently however the biggest changes in these areas have to occur at the management and supervision levels. Turf protection, arbitrary rules, inflexible systems, capricious authority, poor listening, and reservation of the right to make all decisions diminish the likelihood that employee will contribute even a fraction of their capability. True management skill involves the ability to direct, coach, delegate and mentor individuals and teams depending upon the situation and the employee's need. Developing management and supervision with the skill and confidence to behave in this way is not a trivial task. For this reason we strongly recommend that the employee development start at the top of the organization with a consistent philosophy and approach backed up with observable behaviors. With Six Sigma Plus this area of personal development receives significant attention. Even when no new technical skills or tools are taught improvements are often impressive. This is especially true when a coordinated effort starts at the Executive Level in the organization and moves through the Managers, Supervisors and Employees working on the same concepts and approach.

Many organizations spend time and money on training efforts to teach new skills to employees who are using a small fraction of the skills developed in past training. Efforts at developing employees and allowing those who want to become more involved (which are most of them) usually will have much higher returns. An additional benefit is they are then more valued employees whose change in attitude is reflected in their work. Every activity or job has some level of technical skill that must be mastered in order to perform at an acceptable level. Without these it is much like trying to turn a screw into a board without a screwdriver. Demonstrated knowledge and skills are essential. In some cases employees come to the job with all of those skills. More commonly your employees will have a certain base level of competence but still will require additional training and development before they can make a positive contribution. Sometimes it can take years for the contribution to pay back the time value of the investment made in an employee. An obvious improvement would be to reduce the amount of time (cycle time) that it takes for new employees to reach the point of net return. The attitude that employee have on the work place can be as important than the actual technical skill level. Most of the time when we speak of an employee having an attitude it goes without saying that we are talking about a poor attitude. When speaking of a positive attitude it is always preceded with the good descriptor. Our experience confirms that poor attitude is one of the more common concerns in the work environment. Actually it is not the attitude that is the problem, rather the behaviors that results from that attitude is of concern. When someone is described as having a bad attitude and you press for how anyone else can know if someone has a bad attitude the responses are fairly typical. Attendance problems, marginal quantity or quality of work, interpersonal problems with co-workers or supervisors, poor communications, lack of cooperation in any activity, etc. The list is remarkable similar no matter what the job, company, industry, or part of the world.

Our behaviors are how other people decide what kind of attitude they think we have. Almost everyone will make the connection between behavior and attitude. Our study indicates that attitudes tend to drive behavior and are a result of our internal values and beliefs, many of which were imprinted at a very early age. We have to live with the early messages for the rest of our lives. That means that if we as individuals are going to change our attitudes we must find a way to over come that early conditioning. Fortunately we can make a conscious choice to add to the values and beliefs system we have imprinted. Each of us can make the conscious decisions to enlarge our individual inventory of experiences. In the correct environment individuals can examine values and beliefs and chose if they want to make a change. The change is not always easy, but the beginning of change lies in changing the habits of thought, our self-talk. The sequence is that our habits of thought (self-talk) drives our attitudes and our attitudes drive our behavior. All three will have a certain amount of harmony or agreement. To make a conscious decision to change we need to change the way we think--change our habits of thought. Changing someone else's attitude is an impossible task. What can be done is to over the circumstances where if someone wants to make a change it is possible. Lasting motivation comes from within. Some things can be done in the short term, but long term motivation and change is a personal event. In order to help people learn one must understand that most people learn based on three basic inputs. First is a significant emotional event. Almost all of us can remember where we were and what we were doing for some common major events. As a test, if you are old enough, Where were you when you first heard that JFK was shot? What were you doing when you heard about or saw the TV pictures of the Challenger explosion? These are significant events that do not require effort on your part to remember. They

are events that impact us and we remember them for the rest of our lives with no effort or conscious decision to so. Each of as individuals has a number of unique significant events that are part of us no matter what we do. These types of experiences are almost impossible to predict or create and thus are difficult to use a method of planned learning. A second method is the "Aha, I have it!". Discovery of a principle or concepts on you own. You see this depicted in the cartoons as the light bulb turning on in someone's head. Most of the time this is highly unpredictable and also very difficult to use as a method for planned learning. The third method is to take advantage of spaced repetition. A little test can demonstrate that for you. All questions to be answered in less than 2 seconds. (3times 2=? ) ( 4 times 4=? ) Now try (16 times 18.27=?) While there may be some that can answer all three in 2 seconds or less most of us are going to get the first two but not the third. I contend it is because at some point we learned our multiplication tables though a process of drill and spaced repetition, now they are automatic and we don't have to think to get the answer. Using this principle of spaced repetition is one predictable way to have planned learning. Single exposures have a retention of about 2% after 16 days. If on the other hand you can get six exposures over six consecutive days the retention rate soars to 62% after 15 years. This is why most corporate communications and seminars have little lasting impact. Six Sigma Plus training or any other kind of training/development that is not spread out over time and does not have repeated exposure between sessions has little chance of success.

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