Engaging people in creating change

Posted on July 20, 2012 by

It is simply amazing to see the power of leaders come together to address deep-rooted system problems. This was clearly evident in a one day visioning event two days ago for the DAJD / Psych Services value stream. This team of cross-functional managers, each with their own distinct agenda, set of problems (and pre-conceived solutions), transformed into cohesive team that quickly aligned on common targets and a shared future state. It is important to not that the two divisions involved have the historical background of working in a system diametrically opposed to the other in many ways – one focused on patient care and access, the other on jail operations and security. In working with this team, it became evident over time that not only do these divisions share daily processes along the value stream, but that improvements can be made towards collaboratively changing the processes and methods of their work. At the beginning, many had lost hope in ever addressing, let alone solving the complex issues they face.

When management and staff are empowered to make change happen, it is a powerful experience. Many teams unfortunately do not believe they have any ability to affect changes to their core work. This is a management problem and one that is a detriment to operational performance. If that hope is lost over time, the work becomes mundane, task-oriented, and loses meaning for those who perform the work. The good news is that given the opprtunity, tools, skills, along with a disciplined improvement framework, these same people can create fundamental changes and breakthrough improvements that not only meet strategic objectives, but also dramatically increase staff satisfaction and value to process recipients. It is refreshing to see the extent to which leadership is taking risks and placing needed trust in their staff. While there are significant hurdles and bumps along the road moving us closer to that future state, I am confident that the critical leadership and improvement methods are in place to make this happen.