Thursday, December 1, 2011
He claims to have learned a great deal about what works and what doesn't from his combined experience in government and as a consultant.
At the root of his approach is his view that most attempts to cut waste out of government are doomed to fail because they focus on exactly the wrong aspect. The cost cutters usually cut the people first because in a service industry, that's the most visible expense.
The problem is the cutting the people doesn't fix the gummed up processes of government. An example here are the long waiting lines at a DMV. Cut down the number of staff and the lines just get longer.
Miller contends that citizens are mostly not wanting reductions in the capacity of government to do good. They want the potholes filled, the license plates renewed, the deeds filled etc. What they want is that this is done more efficiently.
His argument is that you need to change the efficiency approach entirely. Don't bash the government employees as most are hard working and loyal people. Use his approach to fix the processes that don't work and then the costs will reduce and the citizen customers will be more and more happy with their government.
I find the approach refreshing and in line with what Dr. Deming taught in the early days of process improvement work in the 1940's. 94% of the problems are not due to people!
After the approach, I would say that the techniques recommended seem to be mainstream process improvement tools.
If you are interested, read more about Ken Miller on his blog: http://kenmillerblog.info/2009/05/extreme-government-makeover/
Monday, October 31, 2011
Most leaders have by now been exposed to a veritable alphabet soup of quality improvement initiiaves. There were Quality Circles, TQM, SQI and CQI; remember those? I do and have even taught them.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
1. Find every opportunity to practice the virtues of integrity, trustworthiness, honesty and compassion.
2. Ask yourself this: "How is my organization better today because I am in it?" And "In what ways?"
3. Weigh out your actions in order to cause more good than harm. (Consider the short-term vs. long-term consequences of your actions.)
4. Ask yourself this: "How am I a better person because I am part of this organization?"
5. Remember to treat each person with the dignity and respect that every human being deserves.
6. Be aware of whom you benefit, whom you burden , and how that decision is made.
7. Find and name strengths of the organization that can help you become more human.
8. Practice getting beyond your own interests to make the organization stronger.
Friday, July 22, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
|"1.||creates a positive buzz about you and your work?|
|2.||makes others want you as a part of their team?|
|3.||makes your employer cringe at the thought of losing you?|
makes your patients (or colleagues) excited about referring you to others?"
That's pithy. His argument is that if your work loudly proclaims value, you are creating economic and job security in trying economic times. While it's not something I consider daily or even weekly, I think his points are valid.
You can read more about Sam Parker at www.givemore.com
My view about external inspirational messaging like Sam Parker's is that each person needs to find how much they need in their "diet" to continue in a progressive, leadership balance. It's like chocolate, for some people, a little goes a long way. For others, daily consumption is just right.
With external leadership inspiration, you need to find the right dose of chocolate for you. For me, a little bit now and then is what is useful.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
One day as a young boy, I saw the local Scout Master jaywalking. This was a man I admired greatly and here he was possibly breaking the law. Each of us has similar examples of discovering that others we look up to aren't perfect. As we grow older, we construct more sophisticated mental assemblies to hand these little contradictions and get over them.
Or do we?
Early in my professional career, our hospital got a new CEO. Several months into his tenure, I was in the Executive Suite arranging meetings with his senior assistant, She told me how very impressed she was with the new boss and it floored me. It wasn't anything I expected from a seasoned, top of the line assistant. She said he always chipped into the coffee pool.
The other day, when I saw a manager fill up their cup at the office coffee pool, I wondered they chipped into the pool. The contradiction wasn't all worked out after all.
This recent manager who didn't pay didn't do anything wrong but arguable could have as I didn't see him pay. I simply hadn't seen him do it right. If inclined toward the negative, I could have walked away from the experience assuming that he had as the conclusion was potentially open to interpretation.
For a manager seeking to also be a leader, it's not enough to be doing the right thing. The leader must also be noticed being right. At first, this seems trite.
Perceptions are very strong, particularly if negative. If a manager is perceived not to be right, even in a small, seemingly insignificant area like the coffee fund, their standing as a leader drops. If the right deed is done but not noticed at least sometimes, the perceptions in others may run to unfortunate and inaccurate negative views, sadly so, but true in my experience.
My attempts at being a more effective manager and leader include making deliberate actions that I would have taken anyway but now making them publicly at least part of the time.
I am seen at least some of the time, paying into the coffee pool.
Monday, May 2, 2011
The sign advertised "See the REAL Bryde forty foot long whale". I couldn't resist. I followed the line past the ticket booth as the other paying guests and I waited our turn. Slowly, we approached the exhibit which turned out to be a semi-truck trailer. My suspicions were starting to rise but still, hope prevailed.
As we made our way into the trailer, our eyes took a moment to adjust to the dim light.
There, in a long tanks stretching from one end of the trailer to the other, was a very dead Bryde whale floating in some preservative solution.
True, it was a "real" whale. And no, they had not said see the real, "live" whale. I had presumed that because, at that point, my only interest was in seeing a live whale and my perspective assumed that that's what everyone else would want to see. Therefore, that's what would be shown I thought.
That was not the truth, not the whole truth anyway.
As leaders and managers, we are often confronted with dealing with portions of the whole truth. Sometimes, because we simply can not reveal the full story to others. Sometimes, sadly, because there is power in withholding the critical elements of the full picture and we withhold for advantage.
The latter will generally backfire colossally in time as the missing truth is discovered and trust evaporates.
The former, the act of disclosing part of the picture when some aspects can not then be spoken, can be accepted if the groundwork has already been laid. For example, when a staff member is let go due to disciplinary action, it generally is not appropriate to reveal the exact nature of the action. There were differences and they are gone and it's time to move on.
Other staff are much more likely to accept this if the track record is already in place that you have demonstrated again and again that the portion of the truth revealed is relevant, accurate and in general alignment with the fully details later revealed.
The story of the missing truth of the Bryde Whale reminded me of the importance of telling a portion of the truth that is an accurate reflection of the whole truth rather than a twisted version true only by it's omission.
Monday, April 18, 2011