is the title of an excellent book by Tom DeMarco. This second snippet (here's the first) continues my tactic of rereading good books several times. As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages:
Talented managers are ... all sense organ, constantly attuned to the effect their leadership is having on their people ... Managers without such talent find themselves relying on formulas and "principles" of management. They reason, "This thing I'm trying to do should work; the fact that it isn't working probably suggests that I'm doing it half-heartedly." And so they do more of whatever they've been doing.
When the new automation is in place, there is less total work to be done by the human worker, but what work is left is harder. That is the paradox of automation: It makes the work harder, not easier.
In my experience, standard processes for knowledge work are almost always empty at their center.
The power you've granted is the power to err. If that person messes up, you take the consequences. Looked at from the opposite perspective, it is this capacity to injure the person above you that makes empowerment work.
When there is neither time nor staff to cope with work that runs more slowly than expected, then the cost of lateness is paid out of quality. There is no other degree of freedom.
... voluminous documentation of everything that will hold still for it.
Successful change can only come about in the context of a clear understanding of what may never change, what the organization stands for... the organization's culture... If nothing is declared unchangeable, then the organization will resist all change. When there is no defining vision, the only way the organization can define itself is its stasis.

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