In an eight hour day, 40 hour week, 160 hour month, 2,000 hour year how much are you really getting from your workforce? While hours are being recorded and payroll is being processed are you getting what you expect, are you getting what you need? Some organizations we were brought in to work with were struggling with performance gaps and reported they might be getting as few as three to five hours of productive work per day from their workforce. Is it any wonder they are missing their performance and production targets?
Regardless of the nature of the call for action, the speed with which you respond can be the difference between succeeding and failing to reach an implemented and sustained solution. The old adage, to "strike while the iron is hot" couldn't be more relevant than it is when you find yourselves moving from the point of realizing a change is needed, to the point of taking action to pursue that need. There is a sense of urgency that accompanies the realization of any improvement need. That urgency will provide a significant amount of fuel for the change engine. The longer it takes to respond, however, the more of that fuel will be evaporated by the status quo, day to day challenges and the next pressing issue. The key for leaders and decision makers is to facilitate a quick advance from the point of realizing the need to the point of action.
Today, it is rare to find a public or commercial sector organization that is not involved in an ongoing battle for its future. Competition is fierce and persistent, rapid results are called for and sustainability of those results is critical to survival. Yet even sustained accomplishments are short lived in the face of what has become the new norm, a never ending “call for action.”
The Budget Control Act (aka Sequestration) has robbed funds and resources from hard working federal civilian and military organizations, while the expectations of organization’s missions remain the same and in some cases, even more demands are being placed on organizations. How can organizations acquire needed skills and best practices to implement performance improvement tools and techniques in order to produce results now and over time on a shoestring budget?
Veterans Day is time to remember and give thanks to those who have fought to defend our country. The following is an oral history of Ozzie Drahos’ service in the US Air Force as a pilot during World War II. As he said it best, “That’s the way it goes.” Read More
Historically, organizations have focused primarily on technical solutions as the most fail-safe approach to cyber security. Target Corporation, among other organizations, deployed world-class, state-of-the-art cyber security technology but were unable to avoid the costly and destructive theft of customer information late in 2013. Read More
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent, non-governmental standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. ISO sets voluntary standards for everything from Food Safety Management (ISO 22000) to Social Responsibility (ISO 2600). Read More
Nearly every organization we have met or worked with has a strategic plan, and many have a focus on the safety and health of their workforce. Few however, have integrated a focus on safety and health into their strategic plans, and fewer still pursue their safety and health endeavors with a full understanding of how to embed those improvements into the culture of the organization. Read More
In today’s increasingly competitive and resource-constrained environment, many organizations struggle to spend the necessary time and assets required to improve the long-term performance of their organization. The immediate needs of upholding day-to-day performance consume time and attention prohibiting a proactive culture in supporting long-term performance improvement. Read More
In today’s 24x7 hyper-competitive world of ‘do more with less’, organizations and their managers are looking for solutions and new ideas to continually increase productivity and performance. The pressure to produce more is multiplied by the fact that clients are often required to produce with an inexperienced, unskilled, and untrained workforce. Sometimes the supervision and management themselves are inexperienced, unskilled and untrained. Read More
MainStream recently assisted a DoD health care organization in assessing and improving its Team-Based Health Care efforts within four of its medical facilities. The four DoD medical facilities had varying levels of historical performance standards ranging from above average to below average. These ratings were based upon the Surgeon General’s (SG) expectations in terms of standard work relative to best practices supporting patient safety through Team-Based Health Care. MainStream was engaged to assess and recommend improvements. Read More
In 2013, MainStream's public and private sector customers are facing looming fiscal cliffs, budget reductions, fiscal uncertainty, periodic furloughs, temporary shutdowns and more. Many are calling this the 'New Norm' because it is unclear when stability and predictability will be reached. Throughout 2013, MainStream has been sharing its learnings and experiences on what it takes for an organization to "increase performance and sustain gains" in the new norm of volatile conditions. This article explores an approach to increasing throughput and productivity by improving communication and accountability via a Tier Management System. Read More
Air Force Reserve (AFR) is making great strides in managing performance, strategy alignment, overall compliance and continuous process improvement. It is accomplishing this through the use of the USAF's Manager's Internal Control Program (MICP) and its critical component, the use of internal control measures reported in the Standard Performance Measure Template. Read More
In collaboration with strategic business partners, MainStream GS has become involved in improving patient safety and patient health care within client organizations in two primary areas. TeamSTEPPS is one focus area and the other is a web-driven disease management platform. This Thought Leadership Report provides a general description of MainStream GS' involvement in these two focus areas. Read More
Many of our clients are being asked to deliver systems at a lower cost using the same or less amount of resource. The question is: "Are there tools and methods available that will help meet the objectives in this constrained resource environment?" We believe the answer is "Yes!" and approaches to consider lie in the arena of target costing, value engineering and Kaizen costing. Read More
In 2013, MainStream GS' customers are facing looming fiscal cliffs, budget reductions, fiscal uncertainty in overseas markets, periodic furloughs, temporary shutdowns and more. Many are calling this the 'New Norm' because it's unclear when we'll reach stability and predictability. Part 1 of MainStream GS' 4 part series Increasing Performance and Sustaining Gains in the New Norm of Volatile Conditions addresses the question: "Despite all the uncertainty objectives are still in place that must be achieved in 2013. How can organizations focus on driving towards success to achieve those objectives in the New Norm?" Read More
In Part 4, MainStream addresses the question "What can be done to ensure sustained execution achieves the goals and expectations in spite of budget constraints?" This article explains how leadership maintains accountability for results and provides itself the opportunity to make the necessary adjustments along the way to ensure the goals are achieved. Before moving forward, it is instructive to consider some of the change dynamics that are specific to budget constrained environments that make them one of if not the most difficult environments to achieve desired results. Read More
In Part 3 of this four part series, MainStream addresses the question: "What can be done to ensure we move from planning to execution to drive results?" Throughout Parts 1 and 2 of this series we have highlighted the effort required by the leaders; setting priorities, identifying the metrics, developing plans; not to mention the work of gaining acceptance and working to shift the culture. By now most leaders are tempted to step back and say "There, we made a plan, now go and execute!" If this happens, it will drive a stake straight through the heart of change. Read More
In this second expanded edition of a four part series on frequently asked questions from customers, MainStream GS addresses the question: Due to reduced budgets, changes to the way we operate need to occur, how do we get our people to buy into and support the necessary changes? Read More
Public sector leaders have a passion to serve their organizations and effectively complete their mission. They want to organize and lead their people to deliver the same or better results against their mission even though they have fewer resources to work with in today’s budget constrained environment. When we talk with our customers, we hear that there is a real sense of urgency and true desire to approach budget constraints as more than just another cut drill, but many leaders lack a clear alternative. Read More
What we have learned over the course of 25 years of implementing change and improvement systems is the critical factor to success is not only understanding what needs to be done, but also how to get the organization as a whole motivated to doing it. It is from this perspective that we created and continually refine our approach to change management. Read More
Organizations succeed or fail based upon their ability to execute strategy effectively. Many organizations in both the private and public sector have tried implementing performance improvement initiatives such as Lean, Six Sigma, Balanced Scorecard, or JIT to drive waste and variation out of processes in order to become more efficient and effective. Read More
Working with various clients in industry and the public sector to implement Lean / Six Sigma has made us acutely aware that organizations that thrive in their implementation of Lean/Six Sigma and gain the most from the tools and methods, are those that have a concrete understanding of their mission, a clear vision of where they are trying to go, and the internal discipline to focus their efforts. Read More