Reflections on Good Government
On Friday, February 13, 2015, I had the opportunity to hear Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley speak at the MSU Demmer Center for Business Transformation Lean Speaker Series. The Lt. Governor gave a fabulous talk about the Good Government Initiative he is chairing for the State of Michigan and how the initiative is helping move Michigan forward.
The Good Government Initiative has four central tenants: performance management, service/process optimization, employee engagement, and change management. While all four are important to reinventing government (or business), the Lt. Governor highlighted employee engagement as the most vital to success. A 2012 survey of State of Michigan employees revealed that many career state employees are disengaged. Rather than focusing on trying to engage these disengaged employees that are actively critical of government, the Lt. Governor has worked to lead culture change by engaging, equipping, and empowering loyal and willing individuals within state government.
To achieve these goals, the State of Michigan is investing in people, infrastructure, and continuous improvement. Over the last few years, nearly 100 state employees have earned Lean Green Belt Certifications. These trainings and certifications are not just about credentials. The trainings are about creating a philosophy of continuous improvement within state government. By making these investments, the State has been able to realize new efficiencies and opportunities. For instance, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has been able to reduce health professional licensing processes from 7-8 weeks to 2 weeks by spending a month re-evaluating processes and trying new, more efficient methods.
Additional continuous improvement projects are taking place within social services programs such as medicaid and veterans affairs. The state is encouraging state agencies to develop innovative plans for efficiency and good government. To help further these goals, the state is also working to update and develop new technology infrastructure. By making these investments, the Lt. Governor and the Good Government Initiative seek to reinvent Michigan and deliver "a new level of transparency and accountability in Michigan."
In the days following the Lt. Governor's presentation, I've thought a lot about how important good government (or business) truly is. These four focus areas--performance management, service/process optimization, employee engagement, and change management---can apply to organizations of all shapes and sizes. Whether a student government, a community organization, a large corporation, or the federal government, all organizations have a responsibility to exercise good leadership and business practices. So here's a few take always for your organization:
- Actively create goals and continuously measure and manage progress towards those goals.
- Streamline processes and prioritize opportunities to optimize value for your customer and organization.
- Engage, equip, and empower individuals throughout the organization.
- Create lasting change and a culture of continuous improvement.