Performance expectations for managers keep going up. Managers are continually asked to do more, but to do it with less. For top management, the standard response to flagging profits and increasing competition has become budget cuts and layoffs. Middle managers and supervisors suffer the consequences, as they are left with too few resources and people to do the work. They are forced to operate in survival mode, putting in long hours to deal with an endless stream of urgent problems. Almost never do they have the time to think beyond this month's results. In addition, they are under constant scrutiny, and their jobs are not secure. Ironically, help is closer than they realize in the people who work for them. They are the ones who do the work, and they see many things their managers don't. On a daily basis, they see what is frustrating customers, causing waste, or generally holding the organization back. Employees often know how to improve performance and reduce costs more intelligently than their bosses do. Yet they are rarely given a chance to do anything about it. No one asks them for their ideas. Over the last century, many managers have recognized the huge potential in employee ideas and tried to tap it. But few have been truly successful. Those few found that they had fundamentally changed their organizations and helped them reach extraordinary levels of performance. Today, most managers either don't realize the full power of employee ideas or have never learned how to deal with them effectively. That is why we wrote Ideas Are Free....We hope that you enjoy Ideas Are Free and that it makes you a better leader.