Bypassing any expected change management effort or cultural transformation, nothing gets a group of employees moving than an executive order. That’s exactly what the Governor of the State of Washington did – has executed an executive order for government employees to apply Lean in their work.
I’m as surprised as you are. When I first read the executive order, I thought it was a joke, but it’s very real. On the one hand, I find it encouraging. On the other hand, the notion of an “executive order” feels a bit contrary to the spirit of lean. Either case, I find it as a positive event in the adoption of Lean in Government.
The Governor’s executive order has led to a Bill that is now up for a vote in the Washington State Legislature. The Bill is titled “Maximizing the use of Lean Strategies in State Government“.
What is more encouraging is that the Office of the Governor released a blog post, detailing the current successes of Lean so far in their application in government. In the words of Wendy Korthuis-Smith from the Office of the Governor:
Some positive examples include:
- Department of Social and Health Services reengineered its Community Service offices moving more staff to the frontline to serve clients and consolidating 63 call centers into one statewide call center. Since then, DSHS saw a 99 percent reduction in wait times for community services from 4 weeks to 5-45 minutes and the number of dissatisfied customers dropped from 98 percent to less than one percent.
- DSHS increased its outreach to encourage more parents to use online resources to pay and obtain child support payments. As a result, more clients are shifting to online payments and distribution saving the agency $600,000 and improving accuracy and efficiency.
- The Department of Corrections avoided spending $1.3 million in additional food costs by standardizing its menu at all 12 prisons across the state.
I find all of this as very positive. What do you think?
Below is the text of the Executive Order.
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EXECUTIVE ORDER 11-04
WHEREAS, our current economic climate with lower revenues and higher demand for services
requires state government to continue to streamline operational processes and prioritize limited
WHEREAS, the citizens of Washington expect state government to deliver needed services with innovation, efficiency and integrity; and
WHEREAS, we must continue to transform government into a leaner, 21st century organization that is more effective and efficient, and put our state on a trajectory that ensures a strong financial foundation for years to come; and
WHEREAS, Washington, with a long-standing commitment of using tools to improve government performance, has already embraced the Lean philosophy with several agencies
reporting results which demonstrate it can reduce waste, eliminate delays, save money and provide high quality service to the public; and
WHEREAS, Washington has already established a strong performance management culture through Government Management, Accountability and Performance (GMAP), a management tool that relies on performance measures for a disciplined approach to decision making; and
WHEREAS, Lean builds on the GMAP program as a proven management approach used by a wide range of public and private organizations to increase customer satisfaction and employee morale, improve productivity, eliminate waste in processes and improve the quality of products
and services delivered; and
WHEREAS, government has partnered with Lean subject matter experts in the private sector to learn how to apply Lean methods and tools to eliminate waste, save time, standardize workflow, reduce backlogs and decrease process complexity; and
WHEREAS, Washington is already seen as a model for performance improvement practices that encourage innovative and responsible ways of providing goods and services; and
WHEREAS, it is necessary for state agencies to take additional steps to do more with the resources we have available.NOW, THEREFORE, I, Christine O. Gregoire, Governor of the state of Washington by virtue of the power vested in me by the state Constitution and statutes do hereby order and direct:
All executive cabinet agencies to begin implementing Lean by:
- Learning about Lean principles, concepts and tools;
- Completing a Lean project by August 31, 2012;
- Deploying efforts to build capacity for Lean, while embedding Lean in the agency culture; and
- Reporting Lean results and lessons learned to the Governor’s Office by August 31, 2012.
The Governor’s Accountability and Performance staff will work with internal and external
- Provide enterprise-wide guidance on initiating Lean implementation;
- Provide resource options to assist agencies in Lean deployment;
- Develop an enterprise roadmap for effective Lean implementation, including a
- Lean learning path for leaders, practitioners, managers, supervisors and employees; and
- Report progress and results of agency and interagency Lean implementation.
- No later than October of each year, the Governor’s Accountability and Performance staff shall report to the Governor on progress made by state agencies in implementing the provisions of this order.
This executive order shall take effect immediately. Signed and sealed with the official seal of the state of Washington on this 15th day of December, 2011, at Olympia, Washington. By:
Christine O. Gregoire
BY THE GOVERNOR:
Secretary of State