I have suggested previously that any job task can be viewed as a work process. Fundamentally, for any task, resources are Obtained, Enhanced, and then Delivered (OED; Think Oxford English Dictionary, perhaps the first and largest “OED,” as an easy mnemonic, suggests Richard S. Webster, PhD, former Director of Executive Education at The Ohio State University and OED proponent).
Simple and compelling, these three components–Obtain, Enhance, Deliver–comprise the universal Work Process Elements (fig. 1).
Of any process in the workplace, we may say that it can be improved by eliminating or reducing waste, time, cost, friction or other relevant and measurable factors. Similarly, improvement may be characterized as added or increased value, functionality or other perceived benefit.
Introducing (really, Learning, Doing, Teaching, and Leading) the OED concept and practice in the workplace immediately helps focus attention on work processes, which attention alone may introduce immediate improvements.
If a process can be improved once, or by a single factor, it likely remains subject to further, future improvements, and this is all the more so because of the often rapidly changing nature of work and the impact of these changes on existing processes over time.
Thus, Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) requires (1) keeping a focus on process improvement over time and (2) short, rapid learning cycles whereby action-based learning affects future work cycles.
A system for capturing, evaluating, and acting on Opportunities for Improvement and Innovation in pursuit of Excellence (see OFIIEs) will help individuals, work groups, and organizations to establish, maintain, or, if necessary, revitalize the requisite real-time focus on process improvement.
Ideally, the entire work environment–leadership, vision, strategic plan, systems, IT, policies, learning resources, reward and recognition programs, staffing, structure, funding, even suppliers and customers–supports the Learn-Do-Teach-Lead mindset and practice.
Apart from the ideal (and an ideal aspect of LDTL), any work-group member at any level of an organization can initiate LDTL, OED, and OFIIEs because these methods are low cost (changing your mind costs nothing), low-risk, instantaneously available (at the speed of thought), and applicable to every job task.
So don’t wait, but do propogate.
What advantages or disadvantages do you see using the OED work elements to improve performance?