Many people come to Peak Academy wanting to embark on a full scale improvement initiative or hoping to create their own Lean Process Improvement team. Here are some areas to think about before starting any major change in the workplace.
- Good Relationships
If employees don’t trust each other or management, a process improvement initiative will be seen as a waste of time or— even worse—another false promise. Before embarking on any type of change effort, learn about processes, spend time with employees at all levels, and rebuild trust through listening and coaching. Process improvement is not a substitute for good management or teamwork.
- A Goal You Have Control Over
World peace might be a goal for the United Nations but it’s not a goal for your agency. All too often, agencies strive for goals that sound extraordinary but fall far out of scope for what the agency is charged with producing. First ask yourself what your core mission is and then focus on goals employees will actually be able to influence through small changes in daily activities.
- Ability to Face Harsh Realities
Process improvement involves root cause assessments that carry the potential to unearth unflattering or potentially shocking information about how agencies and systems run. It can be easy to take assessments personally, or to feel attached to processes you had some role in developing. Success comes to individuals and teams who are not afraid to face the truth.
- Transformation from “I” to “We”
It’s easy to come to work and think mostly about yourself. Where do I want to sit? What do I want to work on? What are my goals? How are people treating me? People focused on ego are incapable of building great ideas because they lack the humility required to empower others.
We all have time; it just feels like we don’t. If you are part of a poor process, you spend most of your time responding to crisis situations. Good teams and processes do not operate in crisis mode. Work should have a balanced cadence. If it doesn’t, you will have to invest time to figure out why not and what to change. A commitment to upfront time and learning will save you time later but be prepared for the initial investment.
Written by Melissa Field
Melissa Wiley manages Denver Peak Academy. Prior to leading the team, she served as a lead analyst for Denver Animal Protection (Denver Animal Shelter) and the Department of Excise and Licenses. She has taught nearly 150 courses on process improvement and data to employees throughout the City and County of Denver, within the private sector, and in local nonprofit organizations. She has been with Denver Peak Academy since 2012. She previously worked for the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the United States Department of State. She holds a Master's Degree from the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys playing guitar, yoga, trail running, and leading the Denver Animal Shelter's Jog-a-Dog volunteer program. She lives in a suburb of Denver with her husband Craig. Her mission is to infuse joy into all areas of public service.
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