Simplifying and streamlining the way teams work is one of the 4 areas that Elisabeth Goodman’s consultancy, RiverRhee Consulting, focuses on. She had the honour of chairing IQPC’s recent conference on Business Process Excellence in Pharmaceuticals, Biotech and Medical Devices in London. She also wrote an article for the Medical Information and Pharmacovigilance community (PIPA) on this subject, and have written a few blogs about it in recent months.
Some of the main themes for Elisabeth out of all these experiences include:
The importance of tying the work we do to organisational goals and customer value.
This is something she emphasized in her paper for the IQPC conference: “Managing cultural change in business process improvement” , and it also comes out strongly in the 3 blogs that Elisabeth wrote based on the books: “Fake Work”, “Predictable results in unpredictable times”, and “Chasing the Rabbit”. See more on these below.
The need to engage everyone in the process.
Anyone who has worked within, or with an organisation as Elisabeth has to introduce continuous process improvement will be absolutely convinced that total engagement is the only way to do this. It came out as a strong theme in the IQPC conference, and again her blogs echo this.
The value of a structured approach to underpin this way of working.
The DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control) approach to Lean and Six Sigma, the identification and elimination of wasted time and effort, the reduction of variability in the quality of our processes and outputs, and building these capabilities into the organisation lie at the heart of continuous improvement. Elisabeth covered some of these in her article for PIPA, and these themes are again echoed in some of herblogs.
So, a quick word about some of Elisabeth’s related blogs:
Common examples of fake work, described in Brent Peterson and Gaylan Nielson’s book by the same name as: “effort under the illusion of value”, are meetings with no clear purpose, e-mail threads copied to all and sundry, aimless use of the internet, generation of reports and metrics that no-one pays any attention to.
Tying what work is done to organisational goals; keeping a critical eye on how we are spending our time; questioning activities with no clear purpose and role modeling a more effective and efficient approach are all ways that can help us address this potential drain on time, money, and energy.
This blog was based on Steven R Covey, Bob Whitman and Breck England’s book: “Predictable results in unpredictable times” and also reiterates the importance of identifying and focusing on the organisation’s one, two or three ‘wildly important goals’. It echoes comments Elisabeth has made in previous reflections about the importance of understanding what customers value, and of empowering and supporting employees’ efforts to align with both the organisation’s goals, and customer priorities.
Problems are the consequence of complex systems and imperfect people
Elisabeth uses this concept when teaching people about process improvement. It echoes the words of one of her previous managers, who maintained that every problem should be treasured. It takes away the risk of blame and defensiveness, and encourages people to find and address problems as they arise, and share the benefit of the new knowledge gained with the whole organisation. This concept is also at the heart of Steven Spear’s book: “Chasing the Rabbit”, which I reviewed in my blog “High performing organisations: interweaving process improvement, knowledge management and change management”.
Do let us know if you have enjoyed these reflections.