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USA Today has an interview with Kraft Foods CEO Irene Rosenfeld, in which she offers an interesting assessment of the most important thing she has done since taking the reins of the company – empowering employees.

“We redefined the higher purpose of the company and the core values,” Rosenfeld tells the paper. “A higher purpose was ‘making today delicious.’ Everything employees do, from product quality to social responsibility to marketing, is about what they can do to make today delicious. That's been a powerful rallying cry … Of our seven values, the one that has had the most profound impact is the one that encourages all employees to act like owners. Everyone understands what it means to own a business. You spend money like it is your own, you make sure you're getting a return on your investment, you treat people like you would like to be treated. Of all the changes we've made, that's the one I've gotten the most feedback on.”
KC's View:
It seems to me that so many of the problems that companies have with labor relations could be solved if management not just empowered employees, but worked to make sure that the people on the front line have skin in the game. People have to feel like owners, especially in a 21st century business environment that puts a premium on entrepreneurial moxie.

If companies can tap into that, and create an environment that allows everybody to share in the value of what eventually is created, then it should solve a lot of problems.