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Monday, May 10, 2010

Know the Goal...Are you being productive, or are you just busy?

"In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it." Quote by Robert Heinlein, US science fiction author (1907 - 1988)

Many times I will read a quote and reflect on how much it lends towards a LEAN, process improvement philosophy of leadership and everyday good business. This quote by Robert Heinlein is one of those with which I can definitely identify.

I challenge you to ask yourself, "how many meetings do I go to where I leave still wondering why we had the meeting?" This happens more often than you may think. I will receive several meetings requests a month from several different people, on an array of topics. Something I have noticed is that few meeting requests ever have any notes included about the topic, goals of the meeting, expected outcome or benefits, etc. Or, more importantly to me, why was I invited and what is the expectation from my input?

After reading the quote it is apparent that this is a large phenomena that reaches well beyond my agency. It is most likely in all forms of business around the globe. And yes, it goes well beyond the unclear meeting requests. Lack of clearly defined goals seem to be a constant driver for "busy work." The important piece to this is teaching managers and leadership the difference between being busy and being productive. Trust me, they are not always synonymous.

About the Author: William "Billy" Wilkerson is a Police Sergeant with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and 20 Year veteran with the Florida Air National Guard. He is currently assigned to Sheriff's Office Continuous Improvement Division and also supervises the Staff Inspections Unit. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has been using Lean Six Sigma to streamline many of its processes for the past several years to much success. Billy has also been assisting with the Florida Air National Guard's rollout of their CPI Program (Continuous Process Improvement). Billy can be found on LinkedIn @ http://www.linkedin.com/in/billywilkerson or by email at 7388wtw@gmail.com .

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