Continuous Improvement Event – Inspiring Better Public Services
At the recent continuous improvement conference held in Manchester and supported by the government, there were clear messages to the audience: The need for improved efficiency and effectiveness is pivotal in meeting the objectives within the public service sector.
As clearly stated by Greg Hobbs, Head of Continuous Improvement across government at the cabinet office, “The tools, techniques and philosophies which keep the customer at the heart of what we do can be applied successfully to every area of the public sector, including the traditional policy roles found throughout our processes.” He continued, “The bad news? Not everyone understands that yet. Or, if they do, not everyone knows how to get the best from it.”
Continuous Improvement is not just centred around the tools and techniques which make for significant gains in efficiency and effectiveness, it is about changing behaviours. These behavioural changes result in a shift of culture and central to this is the the empowerment of the people to identify opportunities for improvement and being part of the solution. But, this can only be achieved where is demonstrable commitment from the leadership of the organisation. This involves CI being very much part of the strategy.
The tools and techniques of continuous improvement alone will not effect this cultural change.
Being a sponsor at this conference we were able to endorse this through thinking through our interaction with the many public sector attendees. One of the many questions we were posed at the conference was “How do I get my people engaged in this process and what can I do to reduce resistance?”
“How do you get your people engaged in this process and what can you do to reduce resistance?”
This is probably one of the most common questions we are asked when discussing continuous improvement with our customers. There is no magic wand in achieving this and it is something that just will not happen overnight. It needs working at – perseverance, tenacity, patience. Through this you will be surprised at how you can cut through these barriers to success, providing organisational and personal development to many people. It is all about managing change and some key pointers are available:
- Resistance to change: how to identify the signals that convey resistance and how to overcome these
- Emotional Cycles of Change: the emotional side of change and the natural tendencies people have when faced with this
- Stakeholder management: how to best analyse stakeholder buy-in and the methods that can be used to manage their expectations
- Coloured Thinking: identifying and understanding what makes people tick
These are just some of the ways that you can help change behaviours (there are many more) and we ensure that these pivotal methods are included in our learning programmes. In fact in some of our programmes we place great emphasis on the necessary leadership skills required to facilitate a more seamless transition.
And a final word from Greg Hobbs…..
“The collaborative use of external advice on continuous improvement as a way of demonstrating the philosophy from the outset – sharing the knowledge gained could deliver better value for the taxpayer from consultants. Now is the opportunity for more investment and more time on integration…… becoming more intelligent in how we implement continuous improvement and more sophisticated in how we design projects, processes and policies.”
We couldn’t agree more!
Dembridge is delighted to be able to support the Government in this business improvement objective.