113 – Improving service operations. Finish with service redesign.

Posted by Colin Weatherby                                                                         1300 words

service redesign board

The first post on improving service operations covered service action planning. Both posts have followed a discussion about service improvement with a colleague in which he described a process he has been using with operational staff to work out how their work can be improved. This post discusses redesigning services when that has been an action identified in the service action plan.

If the need to redesign services has been identified in the service action plan there is a good chance that all team members are on board and prepared to discuss some big changes. This is really a prerequisite for significant change in local government, otherwise there is a risk that you are just ‘revolutionising’ people and will have no long term effect.

Stage 2 – Service redesign.

The first step is to separate the services with different demands, operations typology and performance objectives (this has been the subject of an earlier post). Then related services are grouped together. The last step is to redesign services to integrate similar services and plan implementation of the new service. This includes risk analysis of key aspects of the service and planning the new supervisory role required to make the service design work. Continue reading

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78 – Organisational comfort zones in local government. Where is yours?

Posted by Colin Weatherby                                                                         730 words

Challenge capability diagram
The idea that people are often in their comfort zones and that learning and improvement occurs when you move out of it has currency in local government today. The concern is that when people find their comfort zone they settle in and thereafter resist change, even beneficial change. Individuals are regularly being asked to leave their comfort zone and accept challenges. Does an organisation also have a comfort zone?

I think many organisations do – and they stay in them. It will usually be the zone that the organisational leaders, the council or the CEO and Executive, allow it to be in. Frequently, it is a place that they understand and there will be a level of challenge and change activity that the leaders are comfortable to support. The question is what is that level at your organisation? Continue reading

58 – Performance appraisal in local government 4/4. What else could we do?

Posted by Lancing Farrell                                                                              650 words

optimus prime transformer

This is the last post in this series. It is also where things start to get interesting. There are alternatives to performance appraisal the way we have always done it. The difficulty is that most are quite different to the current approach and pursuing them will involve the risks that always accompany change. Are we up for it?

We could just stop using performance appraisals. As Peter R. Scholtes writes in The Leaders Handbook, this would require us to start thinking differently. In essence, this would involve adopting a ‘systems thinking’ approach to managing the organisation. This is likely to require systems to support employee development and promotion, providing feedback for improvement, determining training needs, and performance managing the poor performers.

Scholtes proposes what he calls ‘debundling’ of performance appraisal to focus on each benefit that the performance appraisal system supposedly provides. Continue reading

56 – Local government performance appraisal 3/4. What can you do in response to the issues?

Posted by Lancing Farrell                                                                                              530 words

apple and orange

Choices are necessary regarding the role of performance appraisal and how it will be done. I don’t think anyone thinks that performance should not be measured. It is a matter of how you do it.

Peter R. Scholtes points out the fundamental choice facing every organisation very clearly in The Leaders Handbook. What is most important to your organisation – controlling the behaviour of people to the satisfaction of management, or understanding, controlling and improving processes to benefit customers? Continue reading

55 – Local government performance appraisal 2/4. Why do we do it?

Posted by Lancing Farrell                                                                                   480 words

line in sand

Well, often we don’t as previously discussed. Not all organisations complete them for every employee and in some organisations it is simply a compliance exercise. Even when you do have a performance review system, it may as easily not improve performance as the team at Utopia showed this with unerring insight. I suppose the relevant question is why do we think that we need performance appraisal?

I don’t think it is because we know that it works and helps to align effort and ensure accountability in delivering on organisational objectives. I think we do it because we are bound to do so by industrial agreements and because it creates the illusion of control. Looking like we are in control is as important in local government as it is in other public services. Continue reading

52 – Local government performance appraisal 1/4. What are the issues? (or 5 reasons it doesn’t work)

Posted by Lancing Farrell                                                                             700 words

performance - rowing

This is the first in a series of four posts on performance appraisal. The central idea is that current performance appraisal systems are not effective.

To begin with, the annual performance appraisal process (sometimes called the performance development plan (PDP) or staff development scheme (SDS)) is often not carried out in local government. When it is, people have usually been compelled to do so or they are simply ‘ticking the boxes’ and being compliant. I have often thought that this is important evidence that the process is not helpful. People ‘vote with their feet’ – if they thought that performance appraisal was useful and that it added value, they would be doing it.

Continue reading

51 – An ABEF OSA. What is it and do you need one?

Posted by Colin Weatherby                                                               900 words

puzzled

The Australian Business Excellence Framework (ABEF) provides a systematic way to think about your organisation and its improvement. It identifies seven categories of organisational activity that are systematically analysed when you conduct an organisational self assessment (OSA) to determine the approach, deployment, results and improvement. This examination of approach, deployment, results and improvement is called the ADRI cycle and it is similar to PDCA and other improvement cycles except that it focuses on outcomes not actions. So, that is what it is.

Do you need one? (And, more importantly, what will you get if you have one).

Continue reading