Blogue de Lyne Robichaud

08 mars 2011

The effect of empowerment in a Open Government philosophy

[My translation of my initial post, written in French: «L’effet de l’empowerment dans une philosophie de Gouvernement ouvert», January 21, 2011, GovintheLab]

On Sunday January 16, 2011, at Gov20Radio, the customer service guru, John Tschohl, with his 38 years of experience, repeated a dozen times - wanting to make sure that his message would be heard - that empowerment for business employees "generates quick decisions, saves time, reduces costs and boosts administration sales." He described the effect of empowerment on a business (or government).

He also stressed the fact that for employees to gain empowerment in a business (or 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 winner. He described how to cultivate empowerment.

The effect that empowerment has on citizens is often forgotten in discussions. Have you noticed that it is usually information about the government, when examples of Open governement are shown? However, 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. The effect of empowerment on citizens is often forgotten.

While John Tschohl had no time to go into details about how empowerment works, and even more complicated to explain, where does empowerment come from, as it navigates in subtle and complex mechanisms of the mind and of collective consciousness, to make a long story short, he described empowerment as being "skills and attitude".

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


From the perspective of the mind, when a human being adopts empowerment and that this leads to radiance of his personality, "the body harmonizes itself, the soul radiates, illuminates the mind, ideas become pervasive, brilliant, vibrant, and accurate. The speech becomes positive, real, and constructive. All things fix themselves and take their true aspect."(Baird T. Spalding, Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East)

John Tschohl observed during his long career that empowerment produces rapid decision making, care from employees to customers, and most importantly, he said it made the customers "happy". I listened a couple of times to this Gov20Radio show, to be very certain that this was the right word I heard. He actually pronounced the word 'happy'.

This concept - happiness – it is the first I have heard about in the Open government sphere. I find this is hopeful: it hints a major shift that could happen in the future in our societies if the Open government philosophy spreads to a critical mass. 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: keep it carefully in a drawer, somewhere in your head. Do not loose sight of it.

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 the mind before it can form the desired things. The enlightened being perceives the creative interior principle, then sees clearly, then understands. The enlightened being becomes aware of the field that opens up before him. Knowing that the creative principle is inside, this being takes the desires of the heart, and they become an ideal, a mold that attracts power and substance to be filled. The dream becomes a 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 will master skills and attitudes that lead to empowerment, the better for our societies.

The key to success of an Open government?
First - 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. The government must inject the necessary passion for employees and citizens to enjoy collaborating together.

Second - Empowerment must become accessible to all.

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