Re-Defining the Process Improvement Champion in Government

A typical process improvement champion is a senior manager who initiates and supports a project within their areas of responsibility. When a public entity attempts a transformation focused on its operations, a sound plan and a robust execution strategy are not enough.

Another important factor in success is the designation of specific employees who lead the organization through the journey. They determine the broad goals and the scope of projects and act as an advocate for the project team.

Below are three considerations for public leaders when it comes to championing successful process improvements.

  • In a culture of excellence, everyone can be a process improvement champion

As public organizations continue to evolve, leaders must understand that process improvement champions can include employees at all levels. It’s essential that frontline workers are allowed to be their own process consultants, and as leaders, it’s our job to empower them to come up with solutions to their own work process issues. We can support them with platforms to reduce inefficiencies and design workflows, and also by ensuring they have access to the tools they need to do analyze data for their jobs and keep information moving to their teams. Allowing your employees to fail is also part of the process improvement process. They will learn more through trial and error as opposed to the manager fixing all of their issues for them.

  • Try open sourcing for major challenges

While open sourcing is most frequently associated with product development, it can have an even bigger impact when it opens the door for efficiency. Challenges for the entire governmental entity can often be overcome by sourcing solutions from other areas. For example, the implementation of a financial system may be stalled, not for technical reasons, but for lack of basic accounting knowledge by programmers. In this case, the implementation leader would solicit guidance of the accounting staff members to bridge the gap between the system and end-user needs. Also, improvements to customer service in one department could be achieved by asking members of the public what they want out their interactions with the agency.

  • The view from the top is never all-inclusive

Management can’t solve every problem in your business because there are too many things we can’t see from the top. Employees know the ground truth, and are the front line of your entity. One conversation with a line staff member could yield tremendous process improvements. Public leaders need to be inclusive and deal in facts rather than assumptions. So, public leaders need to build a culture where workers have the tools they need to identify inefficiencies and the freedom to communicate. In the end, it’s the incremental improvements that make the biggest difference over time.

Charles Lewing is a GovLoop Featured Contributor. A Louisiana native, he graduated from McNeese State University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance. He later earned his MBA in 2001. He relocated to Houston, Texas and worked in various finance and accounting roles for a number of healthcare organizations. In 2016, he relocated to West Texas to pursue a career in public financial leadership. He currently serves as the Reeves County Auditor. Charles is very passionate about inclusive management, LEAN six sigma, and improving operational efficiency through leveraging technology. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time in the outdoors and reading spy novels. You can read his posts here.

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