"It's about having an environment where employees can create customized career paths, where knowledge is accessible by man, decisions are not made by a few, and any employee can become a leader (among other things)."
Okay, I admit I've only worked three or four places in my career. Within that limited experience, I've seen most people are more interested in drawing a check than in career paths to leadership roles. You can put in participation and collaboration methods, but can you make people effectively use them?
Collaboration doesn't just require an active interest in knowledge sharing. It requires recognizing what is worth sharing and what isn't. (This is why so many social networks are regarded as nothing but a record of meals eaten and baby's first words.) Also, not everyone wants to advance; they don't want the stress. I've reached a career plateau where I'm happy. I'm in IT because I enjoy the technology. If I go any higher, I will spend less time with 'toys' and more time on budgets, reviews, scheduling, strategic planning, etc. I'd like to thank the US taxpayers for a part-time military career that taught me I dislike these managerial activities intensely.
I'm definitely not saying most employees aren't interested in doing good jobs, only that they're not interested in moving out of their comfort zones. I think people with the motivation you describe have it before they are hired. I suspect it's difficult to find enough of them to staff a company larger than a few dozens or maybe a couple of hundred. But it's difficult to induce these behaviors and attitudes if they aren't there to begin with. The larger an organization grows, the more likely it is to hire unmotivated employees. The original core no longer participates in interviewing every potential new hire. The law of averages says some 'get through the day' people will slip through the screening process, especially if they are the majority of the working population..
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