Measuring Continuous Improvement LO13019

Tue, 25 Mar 1997 21:21:23 -0500

Replying to LO12999 --

John Romero writes:

"I'm attempting to create a scorecard of various quality indicators
centered around our organizational culture. I want to measure (1)
employee turnover, (2) employee morale, (3) employee recognition, (4)
employee volunteerism/suggestions, (5) quality of the workspace, and (6)
the consistent use of continuous improvement tools. I'd very much
appreciate it if anyone out there can point me in the right direction. "

I posted this info a while back, but here it goes again. I work for the
US Department of Labor in employment and training programs. A few rebels
among our ranks, joined by rebels from state, local and private agencies,
have created an organization called Simply Better!. We have developed a
series of products focused on continuous improvement, customer focus, and
quality. The SB! flagship product is "The Self-Assessment System" - a
team-based modification of the Baldrige criteria. The SAS was developed
like the Boing 777: we brought in our customers throughout the process
and extensively field-tested the system. We've had incredible feedback
from all sorts of strange quarters, including many private sector
companies, Baldrige examiners, and ASQC trainers. The best thing about
the SAS (from our perspective) is that it uses learning org principles to
help teams and organizations come to common understanding of issues,
concepts and systems, and leads to "opportunities for improvement" instead
of an application for an award. We are in the process of revising the SAS
to reflect the new Baldrige criteria and to strengthen the process. A
two-day focus group told us that the process really works, but we are
strengthen and reinforcing many areas to make the SAS more effective in
more situations.

Two other products have been out there for about a year. "Customers in
Focus" is a step-by-step guide for designing and running focus groups. I
was in a wonderfully organized focus group a few months ago, and was
shocked to hear that the facilitator had never done or been trained in
focus groups - she just used Customers in Focus. "Voice of the Customer"
is a good overview of customer feedback tools and how they can be
integrated into a management and continuous improvement system. Version 2
will be out soon, and that includes a workbook teams can use to go through
a simple but effective customer feedback process.

We're going over final copy edit and layout for "Service by Design" - a
7-step problem solving process. It focuses on the customers of a service,
and is done by teams of people who actually work with those customers. It
uses many of the lo principles, and actually has some exercises adapted
from the Fifth Discipline. It should be at the printer in about a month.

All of our products are available to download (fo free!!!) from our
website - We'll be moving soon to plain old We're also completely redoing our website so that
it can be a vibrant, interactive resource for using our products and
making real changes.

Well, this was a much longer email than I expected to write! We're all
very proud of what we've accomplished at SImply Better!, and are regularly
held up in the Department of Labor as an example of how different
government can be. Please let me know what you think of our products and
networks, and if there is any way I can help people use them or connect
with one of our ten regional learning networks, just ask.

Barak Rosenbloom
Simply Better!
US Department of Labor
Employment and Training Administration
Seattle, WA
206-553-4543 x8030



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