A year of work in progress – day 221

Day 221 – 22 December 2014

This morning was not ideal for a ride on a horse. It was dark, wet and very windy. Not that I was on a horse. I haven’t been on one for a long time. It was way back in the last millennium, in the Lead Hills in South Scotland and neither I nor the horse where particularly willing participants.

But I live in a world of metaphor and simile and the third thing that I was going to achieve this year was to get back on the Optimisation horse. Our programme of incremental change was loosely based upon the Toyota Production Model and later revived by the work of the Virginia Mason Group. While we had made some significant progress in some small areas there is no way in which we could claim that such an approach was embedded in our culture.

I don’t know why it has proven to be so difficult. Perhaps it’s our culture or nimbyism (not in my back yard) or self-interest or our structures or that we are just too busy doing the things that the process was designed to resolve. Whatever the reason we have fallen off the horse many times and as the saying goes, ‘you have to get back on the horse that threw you’.

We cannot give up. We must not give up. As resource decreases then more and more as a proportion of the whole is sucked into bad process and procedure and the only solution is to remove waste and improve the flow of work. The Senior Project Leads’ work on rocks in the stream has been a part of this process as has understanding demand and the work on Big Data. I am back on the horse yet however hard I spur it on it remains a stubborn beast.

I spent the whole day at Tanfield. There were more people in than I expected but I had only one meeting planned and that was Lee’s one-to-one. For some reason we never seem to have sufficient time to go through all the things that we want to and so it was good to have a clear run at it.

The rest of the day was taken up with all of those things that you can only do when you have the space in your diary. I managed to write a terms of reference and work plan for the accommodation programme which I’ve been meaning to get round to for some time. I also arranged the first sessions for the five lucky people I will be mentoring starting in January.

But the bulk of the day was given over to finishing off the strategy. I am always nearly there with it and I managed to add a bit about the architecture and combine the service plans. I have a date to take it to Corporate Management Team early in the New Year and so there is no crying off now.

Learning points for today: we are at our most human when we are outside of our comfort zone; the Sony hack may be a good opportunity; time slips away even if you have very little in your diary and; only a saint can avoid chocolate before Christmas.

Today’s enjoyment rating 7/10 – finished some things off.

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