A number of years ago I was on a plant tour, which I really love to do. When we arrived at a particular machining station, the owner asked the operator to explain what the machine was doing. The operator gave the most complete explanation I had ever heard, including the business case for purchasing this $250,000 machine. After she completed her explanation, I made the comment that she really knew a lot about this piece of equipment. Her response was that she had researched it and had recommended that the company purchase it. Later on, as I was reflecting on our conversation, I thought of this rhetorical question: “Do you think the operator was motivated to get that new equipment up and running smoothly fast?” How about you — do you create an environment where your associates behave as if they were the owners? Perhaps you should think about giving them the responsibility to act. If they feel empowered to act on behalf of the company, their sense of personal investment can move the entire organization further ahead, faster.