Why "Work the System" Works

Why does an approach like “Work the System” work so well at improving results, improving morale, speeding up results and cutting costs?

It’s simple. When you follow an approach like “Work the System” you have to simultaneously do these things:

  1. Tell people in detail what they are supposed to do — enough detail that they don’t have to come ask you
  2. Empower people to change the documented way they do it, provided their new way is better and they get agreement on the change

These two steps have four effects or side effects:

  1. People know what they are supposed to do
  2. People feel empowered to use their on-the-job experiences to make things better
  3. People find it easier to do the job the right way, reducing the skill level that a given task demands (cutting frustration)
  4. People find it easier to try to tackle harder tasks because the tasks are documented and they have confidence they can figure it out (cutting boredom)

As has been covered in the earlier post “Leaders Boost Productivity,” these are most of the ingredients of achieving optimal work performance, called “flow”.

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