Systems Improvement: What Leaders Need to Know

WHAT LEADERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IMPROVING THINGS

  1. Your employees are your most important resource. They want to do a good job and they need you to help them. Help begins with training, develop and caring for your people. Help continues by removing the obstacles that prevent them from doing the good jobs they wish to do.
  2. All work is accomplished through definable systems. The understanding of work system variation and eliminating the causes of problems in those systems are necessary in order to remove obstacles and to improve work for employees and services to citizens.
  3. Improvement in employee treatment will result in improvement in citizen treatment. Employee treatment must first be improved before you can even think about improving citizen-customer treatment.
  4. Your employees are your customers. Citizens are your employees’ customers. Only a customer can define quality treatment.
  5. Feedback and open, unfettered communication to and from your employees are necessary for organizational growth and your improvement as a leader.
  6. This applies to citizen-customers as well.
  7. Employee work teams can solve major work and service delivery problems if you empower them, encourage them, and give them access to relevant information.
  8. Data and graphs should be used whenever possible to make organizational decisions and show improvements.
  9. Organizational improvement is to be constantly sought. It is a continuous journey, not a destination; it never ends. Improving things is the work of leaders.
  10. Improvements are the results of a leader’s focus, attention, passion for quality and involvement of, and respect for, everyone in the organization. Making work fun can also result in improvements.
  11. Leaders must have a vision and the will to pursue excellence. However, in the end, what leaders believe, know or talk about has little consequence, the only consequence is that employees know their leaders have improved.

[From The Quality Leadership Workbook (2017)]