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Chapter 15. Power, Power. Who's Got the ... > Problems of Empowerment - Pg. 187

Power, Power. Who's Got the Power? 187 This process of synergy isn't limited to generating ideas, however. Synergy, defined as "two or more units (people, in this case) working together to achieve a greater effect than individuals can by themselves," is exactly what happens in an empowered team. If each of Dick's communications specialists had worked alone to perform a specific phase of the system installation, the job would have been completed, but it would have taken longer, and most likely errors that had to be corrected later would probably have occured. By working as a team, each person knew what the others were doing and, if help was needed, could pitch in. When all members of an empowered team are engaged in the same type of work, each person should be trained to do all aspects of that work. Some teams are cross-functional--they consist of people from different disciplines. Although no member of a team made up of marketing, engineering, and finance specialists can be expected to do the jobs of their colleagues in other areas of expertise, their total involvement in the planning process lets everyone know exactly what each other team member is doing. The results are a coordinated effort and goals that are easier to achieve. Ownership--"It's Our Project" When people participate in planning a project, they identify with the project. Because their ideas are being implemented, they're committed to its success. They have the feeling of ownership . Gail looked at her job as routine and dull. She did what she had to do and no more. When her boss informed the department that the company was changing its structure to team empowerment, Gail was skeptical. "It's just another gimmick to get us to work harder," she thought. When the first project under the new system was introduced, Gail sat quietly and listened. Instead of being told what had to be done, the group was asked how they thought the project should be approached. Gail was alert and interested. After a while she timidly raised her hand and made a