Blogue de Lyne Robichaud

22 janvier 2011

The effect of empowerment in an Open Government philosophy

The guru of customer service, John Tschohl, with his 38 years of experience, repeated a dozen times – making sure that his message would be heard – at last Sunday Gov20Radio show (January 16, 2011 ), that empowered business employees "generates quick decisions, saves time, reduces costs and boosts sales." He described what the effect of empowerment is on a business (or a government).

He also stressed the fact that for employees to gain empowerment in a business (or a government), they must be given more than a "one-day training every 6 years". John Tschohl said that a recurrent training program every four months was a guarantee of success. He described how to develop empowerment.

What effect empowerment has on citizens is not reflected in the discussions. Did you notice that we usually focus on government, when enumerating Open Government philosophy successes? But an Open Government is a partnership between a government and its citizens. There are two parties involved in a collaboration of equals, in a co-creator mode. What is usually not mentioned is the effect that empowerment has on citizens.

Since John Tschohl did not have the time to go into details about how empowerment works, and even more complicated, to explain where does empowerment come from, exploring subtle and complex mechanisms of the mind and of collective consciousness - to make a long story short -, he described that empowerment is both "attitude and skills."

Empowerment is, according to John Tschohl, both a behavior that is to be adopted, and abilities that are acquired with experience. Therefore, following a short training on empowerment would not be enough: one must change its behavior and ensure that empowerment becomes a "life style", said the guru John Tschohl.

From the perspective of the mind, when a human being adopts empowerment and when this lets its personality shine, "the body organizes itself, the soul radiates, the mind shines, ideas become pervasive , brilliant, vibrant, accurate. Speech becomes positive, real, constructive. Business arranges itself and all things take their true aspect."(Baird T. Spalding, Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East)

That's why John Tschohl observed, during his long career, that empowerment produces rapid decision making, generates care from employees to customers, and most importantly, he said that empowerment makes the customers "happy." I listened to the Gov20Radio show again, to be sure that I heard this word. He actually used the word 'happy'.

This concept - happiness - it's the first I've heard about it in the Open Government sphere. I find it brings hope, and signals what could be accomplished in the future: a major shift could occur in our society. Does empowerment lead to happiness? Absolutely! I can explain this mechanism another time because it's a long story... But I insist on this point and ask you to remember it: put it carefully away in a drawer in your head, and keep it in mind.

Another important aspect of empowerment is that it changes people: it transforms their lives and ensures that their dreams (ideas) come true. "Consciousness must discover spirit in the mind before the desired thing can be formed. The enlightened being views the creative principle within and sees clearly. The enlightened being understands. This being sees the opportunity of a lifetime, and has vision of his possibilities. This being becomes aware of the open field before him. Knowing that the creative principle is inside, this being takes the desires of his heart, and they become an ideal, a mold that attracts power and substance to be filled. The dreams become reality." (Baird T. Spalding, Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East)

In light of these explanations, we can foresee that the more government employees and citizens master attitude and skills that lead to empowerment, the better for our societies.

The key to success in an Open Government?
Firstly - The message must arouse contagious emotions.
It is not just about data availability, but rather about the ability to get to the heart of the human experience. There must be passion for both government employees and citizens respectively so that they enjoy collaborating together.

Secondly - Empowerment must become accessible to all.

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