You can’t afford not to use the skills of everyone across your company. Here’s how Michelin took the concept of ‘responsabilisation’ – empowerment – and applied it to frontline teams.
The view of employees as semi-programmable machines goes back to the industrial revolution, when most workers were poorly educated. Though today’s employees are far better educated, the distinction between managers and employees – the clever and the compliant – is still deeply entrenched. As a result, a vast reservoir of human ingenuity is going untapped.
Writing for Harvard Business Review, Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini offer an alternative approach, using French tyre manufacturer Michelin as a case study. Since 2012, under the banner of responsabilisation (French for ‘empowerment’), Michelin has increased the authority and accountability of its frontline workers, reversing the centralisation that’s characterised the automobile sector for five decades.