Willingness to Change LO5897

Virginia I. Shafer (vshafer@AZStarNet.com)
Wed, 28 Feb 1996 22:02:06 -0700

Replying to LO5871 --

David Birren writes:

>I'm wrestling with the same issues in my agency's reorganization. In
>thinking about redesigning our work planning system, I asked the question
>"Why?" five times and came to the astounding realization that we, in this
>public sector organization, are unwilling to change the ways we do things
>because the current management system appeals to the values of our
>customers (in our case, taxpayers and legislators). They want everything,
>so we try to give it to them. When we make judgments about priorities and
>try to drop the low-priority work, we're told we have to keep doing it.
>So why bother trying to change?

If the customer wants "everything," then they must be willing to pay for
it. Your responsibility becomes to cost out "doing everything" in terms of
people, process, and resources--then charge for it. If they can't/won't
put their money where their demands are, then get the customer involved in
setting the priorities. Make the taxpayers and legislators make the
judgements on what is low-priority work. But it'll mean doing your
homework so their short-term thinking (I dare to assume) doesn't disrupt
the ecological flow.

>This is a specific example, and it's admittedly the product of a limited
>amount of analysis. But it points out the possibility that the underlying
>reason for resistance to change could have nothing to do with the honesty
>of management or even their awareness of their own values. It could have
>everything to do with management's simple lack of awareness of the values
>that *really* drive the organization and how dependent they are on those

I think management, nay, leadership, has a responsibility to inform the
customers of the cost of continuing to do "everything." What, if
anything, is falling through the cracks? If everything is getting done,
then you had the capacity for it all along. But I trust things like
training, planning, visioning, creative thinking, these soft things are
what's not getting done. You're collectively perpetuating the bureacratic
archetype. Look for the leverage point--it's often where you find the
real customer expressing their real values.



Ginger Shafer The Leadership Dimension "Bringing Leadership to Life" vshafer@azstarnet.com

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