Archive for the ‘Employee Engagement’ category

Continuous Improvement Is About Engaging Employees

April 15, 2012

Not very long ago Honeywell was a troubled company. Several years ago Honeywell changed how it operated by focusing on continuous improvement and engaging all levels of employees. The new management approach, which also involved the implementation of Six Sigma has had a positive impact.

Every department in Honeywell, including the smallest shop-floor unit starts the day with a short meeting (under 15 minutes) to identify problems and ideas for improvements, which are then pushed up to senior managers. All workers are expected each month to come up with two implementable ideas for doing things better.

This simple form of communication and tapping into employee ideas has reaped huge benefits for Honeywell as explained in a recent Economist article.

Sales in 2011 were 72% higher than in 2002, and its profits doubled to $4 billion. It used to take 42 days to make and deliver a sophisticated toxic-gas detector, for clients including Intel and Samsung; now it takes ten. The production process used to consume the factory floor; now, it uses merely a quarter of it. This has freed up the rest of the factory to make lots of other products.

In my 17 years of government experience it was a rare event where employee ideas were sought to improve how services were delivered. An important part of Toyota’s and Honeywell’s success has been the constant feedback sought and obtained from employees on how to produce products better. While many companies do not solicit and implement employee ideas, Toyota implements an average of nine ideas per employee per year.

We need more elected officials and department heads in government who are willing to communicate with and listen to ideas from employees and citizens on how to improve the operation of government. We need government officials who are willing to move beyond setting up a suggestion box.

20 Signs That You Cannot Be Trusted As A Leader

April 12, 2012

Job satisfaction has decreased since the beginning of the recession in 2008. According to Gallup polls U.S. workers have reported a decrease in job satisfaction. The Gallup-Healthways Work Environment Index score has dropped from 51.3 on January 1, 2008 to 47.5 on June 1, 2011. The Index includes four items: job satisfaction, ability to use one’s strength at work, treatment of supervisor, and is it an open and trusting work environment.

Other studies highlight how stressful the work environment can be:

71percent of American workers are”not engaged”or”actively disengaged” at work (Gall-up2011)

69 percent of employees report that work is a significant source of stress (American Psychological Association, 2009)

52  percent of employees simply don’t believe the information they receive from managers (Discovery Surveys, Inc.)

47 percent of employers think that employee trust has declined (Hewitt Associates LLC, 2009, p.2)

All of the above items are strongly effected by the leaders employees report to or are supervised by. Dan McCarthy has a great blog devoted to leadership topics and his blog post 20 Signs That You Cannot Be Trusted As A Leader contains some great examples of how many leaders destroy trust in the workplace.

1. You don’t do what you said you were going to do.

2. You overpromise and under deliver.

3. You’re unpredictable and inconsistent.

4. You always seem to have a hidden agenda.

5. You’ll agree just to avoid conflict.

6. You never share anything personal about yourself.

7. You never seem to finish anything you start.

8. You have a reputation that says you can’t be trusted.

9. You’re never willing to take a stand.

10. You won’t listen.

11. You don’t seem interested in what’s important to others.

12. You gossip about other people and disclose confidential information.

13. You make decisions but don’t explain how and why you made the decision.

14. You often change your plans or mind and don’t tell others about it or explain why.

15. You come across as uncompassionate and insensitive.

16. You won’t admit your mistakes or acknowledge your weaknesses.

17. You misrepresent other’s views.

18. You’ll say anything to achieve your objectives and results.

19. You sugarcoat the truth.

20. You see others as a threat when they are successful or come up with good ideas.

Anything to add to the list?

8 Things Government Employees Need Most

March 6, 2012

Jeff Haden has written a great post titled 8 Things Your Employees Need Most. While pay raises are nice, many studies have shown that higher pay alone does not result in a greater commitment or performance by employees.

Sadly, from my 17 years of experience in government, most government employment does not provide employees with the things they need most.

1. Freedom. Best practices can create excellence, but every task doesn’t deserve a best practice or a micro-managed approach. (Yes, even you, fast food industry.)

Autonomy and latitude breed engagement and satisfaction. Latitude also breeds innovation. Even manufacturing and heavily process-oriented positions have room for different approaches.

Whenever possible, give your employees the freedom to work they way they work best.

2. Targets. Goals are fun. Everyone—yes, even you—is at least a little competitive, if only with themselves. Targets create a sense of purpose and add a little meaning to even the most repetitive tasks.

Without a goal to shoot for, work is just work. And work sucks.

3. Mission. We all like to feel a part of something bigger. Striving to be worthy of words like “best” or “largest” or “fastest” or “highest quality” provides a sense of purpose.

Let employees know what you want to achieve, for your business, for customers, and even your community. And if you can, let them create a few missions of their own.

Caring starts with knowing what to care about—and why.

4. Expectations. While every job should include some degree of latitude, every job needs basic expectations regarding the way specific situations should be handled. Criticize an employee for expediting shipping today, even though last week that was the standard procedure if on-time delivery was in jeopardy, and you lose that employee.

Few things are more stressful than not knowing what your boss expects from one minute to the next.

When standards change make sure you communicate those changes first. When you can’t, explain why this particular situation is different, and why you made the decision you made.

5. Input. Everyone wants to offer suggestions and ideas. Deny employees the opportunity to make suggestions, or shoot their ideas down without consideration, and you create robots.

Robots don’t care.

Make it easy for employees to offer suggestions. When an idea doesn’t have merit, take the time to explain why. You can’t implement every idea, but you can always make employees feel valued for their ideas.

6. Connection. Employees don’t want to work for a paycheck; they want to work with and for people.

A kind word, a short discussion about family, a brief check-in to see if they need anything… those individual moments are much more important than meetings or formal evaluations.

7. Consistency. Most people can deal with a boss who is demanding and quick to criticize… as long as he or she treats every employee the same. (Think of it as the Tom Coughlin effect.)

While you should treat each employee differently, you must treat each employee fairly. (There’s a big difference.)

The key to maintaining consistency is to communicate. The more employees understand why a decision was made the less likely they are to assume favoritism or unfair treatment.

8. Future. Every job should have the potential to lead to something more, either within or outside your company.

For example, I worked at a manufacturing plant while I was in college. I had no real future with the company. Everyone understood I would only be there until I graduated.

One day my boss said, “Let me show you how we set up our production board.”

I raised an eyebrow; why show me? He said, “Even though it won’t be here, some day, somewhere, you’ll be in charge of production. You might as well start learning now.”

Take the time to develop employees for jobs they someday hope to fill—even if those positions are outside your company. (How will you know what they hope to do? Try asking.)

Employees will care about your business when you care about them first.

From my experience most government offices do not have targets, expectations, consistent management and employee input into decisions. What do you think about this list?

7 Signs Of A High Performance Local Government

February 21, 2012

All organizations have their own unique culture. The culture in great organizations  is visible from how positive and engaged employees are between themselves and when interacting with customers. In a previous post I highlighted 7 signs of a dysfunctional organization.

Steve Tobak of CBS News.com wrote an article titled 7 Signs of a High-Performance Companywhich I believe  applies to local governments as well as it does to private sector companies. Tobak’s 7 signs are below:

Employees take ownership. When employees discover problems or issues, they take the initiative to ensure that they’re resolved. They don’t leave it for the next guy because it’s not their job, not their fault, or not their responsibility.

People are happy. People look and act as if they’re genuinely happy to be at work. No, they shouldn’t be running around laughing like children in a playground, but you can tell that they like what they’re doing and are having a good time doing it.

Managers are comfortable with their level of authority. They’re clear on what their authority is and they’re not resentful of what it isn’t. That means decision-making occurs at the right level, no higher or lower than it should be. Managers aren’t afraid to be overruled or second-guessed.

People are accountable. Folks say what they mean and mean what they say. They don’t promise what they can’t deliver or sandbag to get big kudos when they over-deliver. They tell you what they think they can do and are willing to be held accountable for the results.

There’s a “How can I help you?” attitude. We used to call that a customer service attitude, but it’s so much more than that. People never act put off, defensive, or interrupted by requests from anyone inside or outside the company.

Employees have a positive outlook. Whining and complaining is an epidemic in the modern business world. But there are companies where negative behavior is an outlier, meaning it stands out and is eventually flushed out, one way or another.

Things get done. Perhaps the most evident sign of a highly effective organization is that things just seem to get done. That’s because people get things done. The company operates like a well-oiled machine. Yes, I know it’s an old metaphor, but I don’t know a better one.

What do you think are the biggest obstacles that cause local governments to fall short on these 7 items?

Want Better Results? Build A Better System

January 22, 2012

Ken Miller has written a great book titled Extreme Government Make Overwhich I am going to write about in a four part series of posts this week. Miller is the founder of the Change and Innovation Agency, a firm dedicated to helping government increase its capacity to do more good. If you are interested in improving how your government agency or department works, I encourage you to pick up Miller’s book.

In Extreme Government Makeover, Miller explains government like a house with many pipes hidden behind the walls out of view doing the important work that allows a house to function. As Miller puts it:

The pipes of government — our systems, operations, and processes — are a mess. They’re kinked up, rusted out, and about to burst. Ravaged by years of budget cuts, reorganizations, and half-finished technology projects, the systems of government simply don’t have the capacity to keep up.

Second, we’ve got mold. Everywhere. Moldy thinking. Old ideas about people and motivation. We’ve come to believe that the problems with government are “people problems” — that public servants are lazy, unmotivated, and need to be incentivized to do the right thing. Oh, we don’t say it that way. Instead, we call it “pay for performance” or we create competency models and performance development plans. But the message to employees is the same: Government will improve when you improve. This moldy view of people has given rise to the accountability movement. And just like real mold, this movement has spoiled the air, damaged the foundation, and is making everyone sick.

Miller argues that the problem with government is not employees but defective pipes (policies, procedures) that do not provide it the capacity to do everything its citizens require. The only way to address capacity issues with a water pipe is to reduce the amount of water coming in or to increase the size of the pipes. Neither of these options is realistic for fixing government pipes. However, there is a third option, that reveals itself when you rip out the walls, tear up the floors and expose the pipes. The third option is to straighten the pipes so that the system can better handle capacity.

Our hidden system of pipes is the culprit for government performance problems, yet we always blame people because we can see them. Systems are invisible and its hard to improve what you can’t see. Miller explains it as follows:

Because the people are what’s visible, they get most of the attention when it comes to improving government. We try to motivate them, incentivize them, train them, and change them. We want them to do more, and do it faster. We want them productive, smiling, and adaptable. As W. Edwards Deming, the grandfather of the quality movement, proved years ago, “Six percent of the problems we experience can be traced back to people. Ninety-four percent are inside the system.” The variation, constraints, and problems are in the pipes.

The fact that government costs too much, takes too long, and accomplishes too little, are capacity issues. These are pipe issues. We have to straighten the pipes to speed the flow and we will get more done without additional resources. Our results come from our systems. If you want better results, build better systems.

As Miller states: The hallways of government are rife with mold. You can’t see it — we’ve wallpapered over it with vision statements, mission goals, customer-service policies, and employee-of-the-month plaques. But it is there, fouling the air, sickening the family, and destroying the energy and vitality of public service. How do you know if your agency has a mold problem? Check the symptoms: Low morale Poor customer service CYA Silo mentality or turf wars Slow processes Few innovations or ideas Constant complaining Apathy High absenteeism, grievances, and turnover Rampant distrust (of employees, customers, and management)

The fear is on the face of the frustrated worker who takes all the blame for the policies but lacks any power to change them. The fear sits in every question on the twenty-page form the customer must fill out, the one that culminates in the signature block filled with menacing legal threats. Everything about the place just screams “no can do” and “you’d better not.” And those are just the visible symptoms.

Want better results? Build a better system.

Do you agree with Miller that focusing attention on employee performance to improve results is the wrong approach? If you want better results do you need to build a better system?

Implementing Customer Service Plans In Government

January 10, 2012

On April 27, 2011, President Obama issued an Executive Order titled Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service. The Order directed each federal agency within 180 days to develop a Customer Service Plan that addresses how the agency will provide services in a manner that seeks to streamline service delivery and improve the experience of its customers.

The Customer Service Plan must include the following:

  • One major initiative (signature initiative) that will utilize technology to improve the customer experience;
  • Establishing mechanisms to solicit customer feedback on services and using such feedback to regularly make service improvements;
  • Setting clear customer service standards and expectations by way of performance goals;
  • Streamlining agency processes to reduce costs and accelerate delivery, while reducing the need for customer calls and inquiries;
  • Identifying ways to use innovative technologies to accomplish the customer service activities above , thereby lowering costs, decreasing service delivery times, and improving the customer experience.

A friend of mine went to a local government office to pay a bill and was told no one was there to provide an adequate receipt as the “girls went to lunch.”  When asked when they would return she was informed that one employee sometimes never comes back from lunch.  My friend eventually made her way to the Treasury office where she was bounced from one line to two others since she came in from the front door but the signage was at the rear entry.

Frustrating experiences like the above happen everyday in government offices. If you are a County Executive, Mayor or town Supervisor you have the ability to issue a directive to your department heads requiring them to develop a Customer Service Plan. If you are a Legislator, Councilmember or Board member of a local government, you have the ability to introduce a Resolution requesting that department heads be required to prepare a Customer Service Plan. If you are a concerned citizen you can send a letter/email to your elected officials explaining why developing a Customer Service Plan is a good idea. If you file your request in writing with the clerk for the Legislature, city council, town or village board, your request can be on the agenda for discussion at an upcoming meeting.

Many elected officials talk about creating government that is customer friendly but few actually require their department heads to take steps in writing and in practice to actually improve the delivery of services and customer service.

What do you think about the idea of local government department heads creating a Customer Service Plan?

Six Ways To Build Public Trust In Government

December 27, 2011

On a regular basis polling shows the American public has very little trust/faith in the ability of government. G. Edward DeSeve has a great post on Governing.com expressing his thoughts on six factors that are important for the public to regain trust in government. Excerpts from his post are below:

Honesty: Ethical behavior is often taken for granted until there is a breach. Promoting honesty must go beyond mere ethics training. It has to be built into a culture that won’t tolerate even small lies or a little bit of cheating. Schools of public policy and management should make the study of what constitutes ethical behavior mandatory.

Efficiency: This is making sure that government delivers “value for money.” Producing high-quality public goods and services should be done as inexpensively as possible. All the techniques of private industry should be utilized, and measurement of efficiency should be rigorous and comparative.

Transparency: If you are trying to gain people’s trust, they have to be able to see what is going on for themselves. Perception is often reality, so showing the public what is really happening can inspire more-positive perception. New developments in technology—including geospatial mapping and rapid feedback communications—enable government to operate both efficiently and transparently at the same time.

Accountability: This is simply telling people what you are going to do and then giving them an accounting of how you did. Performance management should stretch from “the shop floor to the top floor” and should allow managers at every level to demonstrate how well they are doing their jobs. Pride in doing a good job and performance management should go hand in hand.

Good policy choices: These start with good policy-development processes that translate public needs and conditions in the external environment into a coherent set of actionable strategies. Reasonable people will differ on what constitutes good policy, but the electorate knows it when they see it. Again, bringing transparency to policy development and even including the public in developing policies will lead to greater trust.

Positive outcomes: Implementation of policy choices honestly, efficiently, transparently and accountably should produce positive outcomes. If it doesn’t, managers should rapidly evaluate why the expected outcomes weren’t achieved and take corrective action. Program evaluation has fallen out of favor, perhaps because it was seen as something done tomanagers, not by them. As with creating an accountability framework, evaluation of outcomes should be in the hands of managers themselves, aided by technical experts if needed.

What do you think about these six ways to build public trust in government? What items would you add or delete to this list?

Reinventing A Government Agency Is Just Management 101

December 21, 2011

Tom Suehs through his great leadership skills reinvented a government agency that can serve as a lesson for others. As Melissa Maynard, Stateline Staff Writer reports:

Two years ago the Texas Health and Human Services Commission was the worst state agency in the country at performing a straightforward task: giving food stamp applicants a yes or no within 30 days in normal cases and 7 days for emergency cases.

In 2009, Tom Suehs, who had served as deputy executive director at the Commission since 2003 became head of the state’s largest agency. Suehs also hired Stanley Stewart, a technocrat from Michigan, who had implemented an IT system in Michigan similar to the system Texas was struggling to make a transition to, known as TIERS. Suehs and Stewart took some key steps as leaders to turn things around at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Before discussing those key steps it is important to understand the way things were in 2009 at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the way they are today.

The Way Things Once Were

The most visible changes to address the backlog can be seen in the 316 eligibility offices scattered around Texas. When the backlog was at its worst, the atmosphere in these offices was palpably angry, as confused and frustrated applicants sometimes waited for hours, only be told to come back again another day.

Nora Sanchez’s experience was common. When her request to recertify herself and her kids for food stamps failed to go through, there was no warning, she says. “They didn’t send me anything,” she says. “I didn’t receive anything about whether I was pending or if I needed papers. Nothing.” When she went to the office in May of 2009 to ask about her status, she was told she would have to wait because they were still “entering Januarys and Februarys.” She called her caseworker twice a week, and never once got through. She always left messages but her calls were never returned. Sanchez says she made weekly trips to the office, waiting from two to five hours each time. And when she finally got to the front of the line, they just instructed her to wait for her letter to come in the mail.

The frustration was intense on the workers’ side, too. The eligibility system was operating on two different IT systems — neither of which worked very well, as a state audit notes. The legacy IT system, known as SAVERR, was no longer meeting the state’s needs. “It was cutting-edge when the microwave was cutting edge,” one worker joked. The legislature first approved the new system, TIERS, in 1999, but its development and implementation was plagued by glitches and delays. Often, employees were trained on the system by people who did not know how to use it themselves.

In the meantime, operating in two systems created cracks for clients to fall through. A client who had been approved for benefits and then moved to another town might not continue to show up as eligible. Online applications could be received but had to be manually typed into TIERS, which often operated at glacial speeds because of inadequate server capacity. Print-outs, paper applications and hand-written receipts provided the only paper trail whenever there were discrepancies, which was often. As Sandra Dillett recalls, “Somebody had to go and re-look at all the paper receipts to figure out what happened.”

New Leadership Brings New Results

Walk into an eligibility office today, and chances are you’ll be greeted pleasantly and asked about the reason for the visit. If you just need to pick up a food stamps application, the greeter will hand you one without having to wait. He or she can also answer simple questions right away.

If your case requires a more intensive response from agency staff, the greeter will push a button informing a new office management system called the “Nemo Q” why you are here. The system will assess how many workers are currently working in various roles and filter your case to the right person and place in line in order to maximize efficiency. The easier your problem, the faster the system will push you through, ensuring that the office doesn’t become clogged. While you wait, you’ll be able to take a seat in a clean, bright office and track your expected wait time on a large monitor. There’s a good chance that you’ll be able to complete an interview the same day, while you’re there, rather than scheduling a time to come back in the future.

The back-room improvements that Texas has made will have an impact on your visit as well, whether you’re aware of it or not. Fixing the programming glitches in TIERS and overseeing its successful statewide roll-out may be Stewart’s most important contribution to Texas’ turnaround. The new system makes it easier for workers to do their jobs. And customers no longer have to wait around while the system loads a new page or a worker tries to decipher the reason for error messages.

Just as importantly, it has improved the state’s ability to track its performance all the way down to the frontline worker level. It is what allows Stewart to pull reports every morning and pinpoint late cases. He follows up with the offices in question to troubleshoot.

Stewart also helped the state overcome other weaknesses in its technological infrastructure that were leading to customer-service problems. Finally, there is adequate server capacity and enough phone lines to handle incoming and outgoing calls. Before, busy signals were pervasive. Workers would have to wait for phone lines to open up before they could return phone calls when clients left messages.

In June, the federal government gave Texas a $6 million performance bonus for dramatically improving its payment error rate, moving it into the tier of “best” states for 2010. Characteristically, Suehs shared the reward with his employees. It was a powerful morale booster. Employees who received strong performance evaluations during 2010 got a bonus equal to about 4.5 percent of their annual salary.

One of the lasting lessons from Texas’ experience may be to not forget about the basics. While some of Suehs’ solutions were complex and expensive — system-wide process improvements, big IT investments, increases in staffing — other, equally critical remedies were surprisingly simple. Listening to employees. Keeping offices clean. Recognizing successes. “It’s just Management 101,” says Suehs. “Getting that employee to feel good about themselves, and making sure they know what their job is.”

Key steps that Sueh’s and Stewart took in turning around performance at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission were:

1) Listening to Employees –  Suehs made dozens of visits to eligibility offices and talked with workers at all levels about how their jobs were going and what he could do to help them. He solicited email input about how to fix the problems and personally read thousands of responses.

2) Challenging Employees In A Fun Way – Suehs also worked at rebuilding morale among the workers. At the height of the backlog, Suehs asked the various eligibility offices to compete against each other in the “Commissioner’s Challenge,” a contest to see which offices could provide the best customer service by processing applications quickly and accurately. Suehs promised to personally grill a nice meal for the winners. It may sound like a summer-camp strategy, but numerous people interviewed for Melissa Maynard’s article pointed to the competition as a turning point that helped cultivate a team atmosphere and boost staff spirits.

3) Bringing In Outside Help –  At first, Stewart, who was retired, worried about how Suehs’ decision to give czar-like authority over the food stamp program to an “old black guy from Michigan” who comes highly recommended by the federal government would go over in Texas. As it turned out, Stewart’s outsider status lent him the credibility he needed to make major changes.

4) Utilizing Technology – Computer technology has improved the state’s ability to track its performance all the way down to the frontline worker level. It is what allows Stewart to pull reports every morning and pinpoint late cases. He follows up with the offices in question to troubleshoot.

5) Establishing Performance Goals – Stewart is clear about his goal: He wants Texas to be the top state in the country for on-time processing. “We’re going for 100 percent,” Stewart says. He’s getting close. Each day, Stewart reviews a detailed explanation of every delinquent case and follows up on the ones that trouble him.

Government agencies can be reinvented. Tom Suehs and Stanley Stewart exemplify the kind of leadership we need in government. What do you think about the successful turnaround of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission?

Six Agencies Testing New Performance Management Model

December 1, 2011

Six federal agencies (The Veterans Affairs, Housing & Urban Development, Energy Department, Labor Department, Coast Guard and the Office of Personnel Management), will pilot test GEAR, which stands for goals, engagement, accountability and results.

The purpose of GEAR is to create a culture of ongoing, continuous feedback between managers and employees. As part of GEAR the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations recommends that the six agencies do the following:

  • Hold quarterly performance reviews, called progress score cards
  • Improve how they select supervisors, and require mandatory training on how to manage their employees’ performance

The task force in charge of reforming performance management in the federal government concluded that “the government’s current culture doesn’t encourage regular feedback between employees and their supervisors, and doesn’t require documentation of that feedback.”

In my 17 years of local government employment, rarely did I experience or see continuous feedback between managers and employees. Annual performance reviews rarely if ever took place. Supervisors were typically selected based on politics and did not receive any training on how to manage employee performance. All of which typically creates poor performing agencies and chaos in general. (I support implementing a City/County Manager form of government, where a professional manager makes hiring decisions and not politicians, but that is a whole other topic.)

Annual Performance Reviews simply do not work, as having a conversation between a supervisor and an employee once a year is completely inadequate. A better approach is requiring a quarterly discussion between supervisors and employees to discuss performance issues. The scoring or ranking process in the final analysis is not as important as creating a culture of ongoing, continuous feedback between managers and employees.

In my government experience it was shocking to me how little discussion took place on improving agency performance and how little effort was made to tap into employees’ for ideas on how to do things differently.

Perhaps newly elected officials at the County, City, Town and Village level could follow the lead of the federal government and advocate for a performance management model in their jurisdictions? What do you think about the GEAR performance model and is it something worth pursuing at a local level?

“How did I hire so many employees who have no ideas?”

November 3, 2011

The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more

The above Dilbert strip (for some reason it is not displaying in full) unfortunately is true of so many places that I have worked for. Time and time again I would see expensive consultants hired to improve operations, when employees themselves had many great ideas that were ignored.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal  research by Alan G. Robinson, a professor at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, the average U.S. employee’s ideas, big or small, are implemented only once every six years!

Employees who are engaged and encouraged to contribute ideas can be a tremendous asset to any organization. IdeasAmerica, an association for “suggestion administrators,” who manage suggestion submissions, surveyed 31 of its 125 members last year. The study found that submitted ideas saved respondents more than $110 million dollars in time, materials, labor or energy, an average of $1,256 per suggestion.

Toyota’s success as a company is in part due to its ability to engage employees who contribute ideas on how to improve operations. According to the book All You Gotta Do Is Ask by Chuck Yorke and Norman Bodek, Toyota implements an average of nine ideas per employee per year.

Any organization whether in government, non-profit or the private sector needs to create a culture where employee ideas are encouraged. Culture typically starts at the top, sadly from my experience many elected officials and CEOs are too insecure to empower employee contributions. Dilbert makes the point all too well.

What do you think?