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.
Now LEAN and Six-Sigma are the popular intiatives to reduce waste and improve efficiency. LEAN had it’s genesis in the Toyota Production System Kaizen philosophy. This approach has been applied with notable success in an improvement resistant sector, healthcare.
Now we have an increased call to drive waste out of government, to reinvent it, make it more like business and so on.
This is not actually new, news though. Take this quote: "We don't want to get rid of government. We want it to work better and cost less. We want it to make sense." Sounds current, doesn’t it. That’s actually from then Vice President Al Gore.
Many people, when asked, feel there is waste in government and often epitomize this perceptions with the snapshot view of the highway contruction worker leaning on a shovel.
The core question about transforming government is where to begin and that involves identifying the problem which may lack the convenient simplicity of popular sloganism as most lasting problem solving does.
In the next post, we’ll explore views from quadrants as diverse as the 9/11 Commission and the Missouri Drivers’ License Bureau about the state of government.