Commentary

July 12, 2013

Leading change

Lt. Colonel Rodney Jorstad
Tyndall AFB, Fla.

How many times have you been waiting in a line for service wondering why something takes so long when it seems like it should be an easy process? Or worse, you waited in line and finally get to the customer service representative and find out you are missing a document and must come back later?

You leave frustrated and wonder why someone doesn’t fix the process, or have a way to let you know you needed the document before you waited in line.

Finally, you compose yourself, get the needed document and return to stand in line the next day. You’re are prepared this time! You wait in line again, get to the front of the line and feel obligated to tell the new customer service representative at the window the situation from the previous day only to find out you really didn’t need the document after all.

Does this describe where you work?

How do we change our processes to be less frustrating for the end user of our services or products we supply as Air Force members?

Change starts with you. You are trained to be an expert in your field: use your expertise to critically review how you do your job and the functions you perform daily.

Utilize an “outsider” perspective to determine if steps in a process are value added for the end user or an internal requirement. If a step doesn’t add value, determine if it is required by law or instruction. The idea here is to eliminate waste or legacy processes that are no longer applicable to what you do today.

Identifying waste and developing solutions to improve your day-to-day processes is a great way to achieve a deeper understanding of your specialty and develop leadership skills. It can be done at any level.

Your leaders are looking for people to find ways to be more efficient by cutting wasted time and money on unnecessary processes, or steps in a process. Leading change can be challenging, but starting early in your career with small projects will help develop the skills needed to affect change on a larger scale.

How do you get started leading change in your organization? First, realize the need to change and determine how to improve your job or efficiency.

Most problems in processes are communication issues, especially between organizations or sections. Determining the communication breakdown and developing a solution is a great way to get started improving your workplace.

Next, discuss your idea with a few trusted peers, get their input and adjust fire as needed. Technology is not always the answer; remember to keep things simple.

Your new process or change needs to be sustainable.

The challenge is the few people who refuse to change after most people are ready to implement your plan. If they are not on board it can cause mission failure for your new idea to improve your work area.

Determine why they are not behind the plan. Some people are only motivated by the “what’s in it for me” mentality. Highlight how your change will make their job easier or how it improves your customers’ satisfaction or saves money or time.

Learning what motivates people and how to get them to change will develop you as a leader.

The most difficult part of leading change is sustaining the improvements made. Most of us are in organizations that turn over personnel on a continuous basis, so having the new process written down and captured in operating instructions is paramount to ensuring your change doesn’t revert back to the old way of doing things. There is a reason it was broken in the first place, and many times you will find it is because the process was never written down and people have developed their own way of completing their tasks.

So the next time you are frustrated at a process or standing in line, think about your job. What can you do to lead change in your organization and create a better experience for your customers?




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs February 27, 2015

Library closure The Base Library will be closing early Feb. 28 for an official function. Hours of operation will be 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day. For more information, call 661-275-2665. Blood drive The next American Red Cross Blood Drive on Edwards AFB is 10 a.m.-4 p.m., March 4 in the Chapel 1 Annex. Both...
 
 

Just American: A century of Black life

Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted Harvard-trained historian Carter Woodson. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially...
 
 

Leadership development program nominations due March 16

Nomination packages for majors and major-selects interested in the Defense Department 2015-2016 Executive Leadership Development Program are due to the Air Force Personnel Center by March 16, officials announced. The program, designed specifically for highly motivated officers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership ability, commitment to public service and integrity, and who have an inter...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Bobbi Zapka

C-12 pilots take to skies at Edwards

Air Force photograph by Bobbi Zapka Edwards AFB is home to the U.S. Air Force C-12 school house. Referred to as a split school house, when an individual is assigned to fly an Air Force C-12 Huron, they spend three weeks in Alab...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Jim Varhegyi

AF senior leaders caution against sequestration

Air Force photograph by Jim Varhegyi Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III answers a question about the fiscal year 2016 President’s Budget request during a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on D...
 
 

Soldier, retirees win big with Exchange’s ‘Your Holiday Bill Is On Us’ contest

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service made dreams come true for three grand-prize winners of the MILITARY STAR® “Your Holiday Bill Is On Us” sweepstakes—and for one young Soldier from Fort Bliss, winning has changed her life. As a grand-prize winner, Sgt. Kakala Loketi had her MILITARY STAR® account paid in full. During a...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>