TLS Continuum Part 87: Processes Gone Awry

First of all, let me extend my regrets for not keeping better in touch but I and my family have been fighting this bug that is flying around. Not the flu but close to it. It sucks to be under the weather.

This past week has been filled with more irony then I would want to have to experience but I did. It began with attending my local SHRM chapter meeting where the topic of the day was what to do in the case of an active shooter. During the presentation, my phone beeped with the shooter at the National Security Agency at Ft, Meade and then several hours later we experienced the shooting in Parkland and at the Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School which left 17 dead.

The final stage of the TLS Continuum calls for the creation of a standard of work. In the process improvement area, a standard of work. As defined by the website ISixSigma , a standard of work  is a detailed definition of the most efficient method to produce a product (or perform a service) at a balanced flow to achieve a desired output rate. It breaks down the work into elements, which are sequenced, organized and repeatedly followed.

This past week has shown that when we don’t follow that standard of work, potentially we can endure some dramatically harmful results for your organization. Reportedly the various agencies involved had a process for dealing with individuals like the Parkland shooter. However, at the same time, apparently those processes were not followed as they should have. We can if we look around see other examples of this situation:

  • the Defense department has said that there are 7000 individuals who should have been entered in the National Background System to stop them from buying firearms due to domestic violence events but have not entered.
  • The FBI forwarded a tip about the Parkland shooter to the Miami field office and it slipped through the cracks.
  • The Broward social services people got a tip and determined despite evidence to the contrary that the Parkland shooter was not a threat.

Our standards of work are critical to the organization. They set out in easily understood and in clear view what our processes are expected to do. Whether you are in the mailroom or the C-Suite, you are provided with a clear picture of how to handle a particular situation. When we have individuals within your organization who believe that they know best and try and go around the standard of work, the entire organization suffers. You no longer are performing in the interest of the easy organizational flow. We clearly know that functioning in a silo situation is an indicator of waste. It leads to a spread of non-value-added activities.

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