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Contented Cows Still Give Better Milk, Revised and Expanded: The Plain Truth about Employee Engagement and Your Bottom Line, 2nd Edition by Richard Hadden, Bill Catlette

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CHAPTER 12

Enabled Employees Are Tooled

Tool(ed): To equip with the means for production.

The people who are doing the work are the moving force behind the Macintosh. My job is to create a space for them, to clear out the rest of the organization and keep it at bay.

—Steve Jobs

Tools, Not Rules

Organizations don’t become Contented Cows purely on the strength of their human resources practices or their managers’ leadership skills. All of the policies, methods, systems, habits, and procedures that comprise your organization’s operating environment work together to have a positive or negative impact on your workforce and its members’ willingness to part with that most precious commodity: their own discretionary effort.

It does no good to hire talented people who fit well within the organization, get them all fired up about the voyage, equip them with a capable leader, and train the stew out of them, if one or more forces within your organization’s system are going to prevent them from performing.

One of the biggest motivators is being able to see progress made at the end of each shift or day. Most of us want to work in an environment where we can do our very best work, and it makes us crazy when dumb (or poorly executed) leadership actions or systemic obstacles keep that from happening.

Training people well and then standing in their way is analogous to spending a half million dollars to build a NASCAR race car, another half million to get a backup car, hiring a top-name driver and ...

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