Drive Dilbert out of HUD
If you are serious about transforming HUD- what about setting up a Dilbert-compliance dashboard, on the Web, for Departmental initiatives, where employees rate them for Dilbert compliance? Many companies in my area are about 90% Dilbert-compliant, that is, their workplaces are about 90% what the Dilbert workplace is, based on what people tell me on the bus. HUD is probably at 70-80%, low by comparison to industry generally, which is a good thing. If you are serious about feedback, why not have a website where every new effort is cited, and employees can rate it for Dilbert-compliance, and mission-compliance? I am totally serious, Dilbert is a very precise description of a workplace where strategic goals and day to day actions are not synchronized. In the old MIDLIS system, you had to keep your input sheets for a month, because it was quite common to do a save to a 24 or 48 hour old database, wiping out all the input, as one example. SQL server databases seem to be better run, although at times unannounced service outages cause real problems. Every HUD initiative should have an internal “Dilbert compliance” voting key, for staff. Kill the initiatives that get high Dilbert-compliance ratings. That alone would give you incredible rapport with staff.
Six Sigma commented
I look at the book Three Cups of Tea, where one man, with inadequate funds, has built more schools than several governments. I ask myself, how can HUD staff be like Mortensen? Getting maximum bang for the buck? Incorporating local resources to the max, as he does? That book should be required reading, from the library, for ALL HUD STAFF. We hear all kinds of management terms from the 10th floor. Business Process Reeingineering, for example. Except that those people don't understand the process, as a rule. It is fascinating to see them asking the field, and clients, for input, they never used to. In systems, ALL disease, all problems, are the direct result of blockage. Clear the blockage, and the flow heals. With human systems, flow is communication- and acting on feedback. That is the basis of all Six Sigma, Lean, TQM, and all the others. This agency mostly does not act on feedback, unless the IG or GAO is providing it. That is breakdown maintenance, it is not preventive maintenance. The Strategic Plan should have at least 30 Business Processes related to HUD's long term goals, with a full description- based on what really happens- and then areas for suggestions of improvement. This forum is great, as a first step. If HUD is really serious about the 5 goals cited here, it is more than simply collecting ideas. Some sequence of how to implement is important. Many inner city churches, for example, are excited about getting government funds. However, many do not have the capacity to handle them, or account for them. Capacity is more important than the funds. Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish, and you feed his family for a lifetime. We pass out far too many fish, and do almost no teaching. This is stupid at best, no wonder people are angry. The very first step would be collecting Best Practices- as a story of the entire operation of the outfit, and also as segments that can be copied. Even this first step is not occurring, not much.
Tom T commented
TQM is present in this idea. Let's review the 14 points of TQM:
1. Create constancy of purpose and continual improvement – long term planning must replace short term reaction Of course, government agencies cannot see beyond the end of the FY, so this is out.
2. Adopt the new philosophy – by management and workers alike. Management? Do anything beyond preach? Huh?
3. Do not depend on (quality) inspection – build quality into the product and process What? Not pay huge bucks for software that works poorly? Do the job right up front? Maybe listen to front line people with experience? Wow. Now that would be a transformation.
4. Choose quality suppliers over low cost suppliers – to minimise variation in raw materials and supply.
5. Improve constantly – to reduce variation in all aspects e.g. planning, production, and service. Of course that's not allowed. Instead of that, we have handbooks written in stone 20 years ago.
6. Training on the job – for workers and management, to reduce variation in how job is done. Training? We don't do much of that, and then only when a law requires it.
7. Leadership not supervision – to get people to do a better job, not just meet targets. Now this would be a major transformation.
8. Eliminate fear – encourage two-way communication, encourage employees to work in the organisation’s interest. This would be beyond revolutionary, in this organization.
9. Break down internal barriers – department’s in an organisation are “internal customers” to each other and must work together. They talk a lot about this.
10. Eliminate slogans (exhortations) – processes make mistakes not people. Management harassment of workers will create bad relations if no effort made to improve processes. This would be beyond revolutionary.
11. Eliminate numerical targets – management by objectives (targets) encourages low quality. It does, but the numbers worshippers in HQ cannot be convinced of this. We have to meet the goal, just like the Soviet factories had to meet the GOSPLAN goals, and the devil take the hindmost. Quality? Never heard of it.
12. Remover barriers to worker satisfaction – including annual appraisals What? Let workers produce quality work? End the quotas of outstandings, actually give bonuses and time off awards to someone other than management? I don't see it happening.
13. Encourage self improvement and education for all Except that the organization is stacked against this.
14. Everyone is responsible for continual improvement in quality and productivity – particularly top management Of course they've never acknowledged that before.
And let HUD's partners post, too. There is entirely too much pointy haired boss in HUD.