I started out by asking the students to set forth likely characteristics of the high performing anomalous company in a given business sector. Mark, here, pretty quickly keyed in on the importance of empowering front-line staff.
a previous post:
As Steve has written in his studies of Toyota and reviews of other high performance organizations, the common characteristic of these organizations is not in their ability to design perfect and complex production or service delivery systems. Rather, it is their ability to discover great systems. They do this by managing their work flow to encourage people at all levels to call out problems; to "swarm" together to solve those problems; to share this process of discovery with others in the organization so that the solutions are diffused widely; and to cultivate the skills of people throughout the organization to be involved in this kind of constant improvement.