Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great”, gave a keynote speech at the recent ICMA conference on this topic. He points out that good is the enemy of great because many organizations get stuck on what’s “good enough” and don’t search hard enough for changes to achieve greatness. The focus becomes what to do and there’s not enough attention on what to stop doing. Sound familiar? In your organization, do you have processes that are just “good enough”? Ones you keep because it’s what you’ve always done? In talking with a client recently, they said they were skeptical of using FacilityDude’s MaintenanceEdge at first because what they had always done—dealing with phone calls and emails about work orders—seemed “just fine”. After only a few months of using MaintenanceEdge, the client admits it’s a vast improvement over what they were doing and they’ve experienced a considerable increase in efficiency. These are the types of changes you can make to move your local government to great.
Another thing Jim Collins discusses is that a determining factor for great organizations is that they are consistent. Jim uses the analogy of a 20-mile a day march and how you must dedicate yourself to completing your responsibilities day-in and day-out. You don’t rush ahead when the weather is nice or sit inside and complain when it’s bad—you stay the course. Jim states, “A signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.” There’s a compelling argument here, especially for local governments, who deal with changes in elected officials in regular intervals. You are the ones who can build consistency into your organization. You can help your local government go from good to great. Do this by maintaining the same level of discipline in good times as in bad—in times of tight budgets as well as budget surpluses. Keep your level of performance consistent and you will make your local government great.
Jim Collins also discussed the fact that we live in uncertain and chaotic environments where every day we cope with forces beyond our control. What you can control is your reaction to those unforeseen events. How do you deal with your chaotic environment every day? You never know what calls you’ll get, what’s going to break, when a natural disaster might strike. What you do know is that if you have an internet maintenance management system (IMMS) in place, you can better manage your daily workload. And if you effectively use preventative maintenance schedules, you can reduce your daily uncertainty by catching problems early, before they become catastrophic. You won’t change the chaotic environment, but you can create a streamlined process to manage your daily workflow more efficiently.
You have chosen a life to be useful to your community. Amplify this by making your local government great. Don’t settle for “good enough”. Take time to assess processes and critically think about how they could be improved. Challenge yourself to leave the comfort zone and start making changes that are going to make your organization great.
You can read Jim Collins’ article, Good to Great, here: http://www.jimcollins.com/article_topics/articles/good-to-great.html