Methods to Tune Up Your Shop

Like every well-oiled machine, there comes a time to re-evaluate the functionality of an organization. Did someone frustrate you by dropping the ball? Ever notice that accomplishing one thing requires too many steps? Have you asked, “why is it done this way?” and received the answer “that’s just how we do it?”

Benefits of Bottom-Up Change

If you answered “yes” at least twice, chances are your organization/directorate needs a “tune up.” You may not be able to change it all, but you can affect at least one thing. Research suggests the bottom-up approach to organizational change is far more sustainable. It also nourishes innovation more so than the traditional top-down method. So, in the spirit of everyone being a change agent, I recommend evaluating several things:

Role & Leadership

Are the challenges the result of a lack of direction, purpose or strategy? If your organization promotes divergent thinking, recommend methods to improve communication. Change will not be impactful if employees do not understand the why.


Consider internal customers, external suppliers and the collaboration required to manage both. Is there a missed demand signal for customers or suppliers? Could a working group facilitate brainstorming and collaboration?

Resources & Structure

To accomplish anything requires people with the right skills that are also competent. However, it also requires the appropriate infrastructure. Frankly, the perfect world doesn’t exist. So are there cost-effective measures to gain more resources or improve structure?

Systems & Processes

Ahh… my favorite thing is to evaluate systems and processes because they are often taken for granted. Systems are the core elements that help your organization run. The processes are all the things done to make the systems work efficiently. Some considerations include the work environment, the procedures and their effectiveness. For example, if your section has to move into another building, how does that environment impact daily procedures? More often than not they are interdependent. So, how does changing one impact the rest?

LaMesha Craft is part of the GovLoop Featured Contributor program, where we feature articles by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Contributor posts, click here.

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Catherine Andrews

I love this metaphor! Too often we think if something’s working well it will continue that way forever but it’s important to do proactive checkups on a regular basis. Great advice.