Youngest daughter (who will not be pleased if she sees this reference to her in print) doesn’t usually take much interest in dad’s work but must have had an idle moment or three recently because she suddenly came out with
I looked at that blog thing the other day. You don’t speak much [I’m a male remember, we communicate differently] but you must be thinking away all the time
When challenged on the import of this gnomic statement she volunteered “Well, you just take anything that happens and make something out of it”.
I thought about this.
It was true of my supermarket experiences (tedious). It was true of my casual sighting of a bank’s customer charter on a roadside hoarding (sceptical). And it was true of my less than grateful receipt through the mail of a device to reduce the consumption of water in my shower (unbelieving).
Given the usual father-teenager relationship my first instinct was that she was having a go.
But then – positive parent that I am – I concluded that, no, she was actually being quite complimentary, whether she knew it or not.
The truth of course is that most of our experiences are of day-to-day events, not life’s major triumphs and tragedies. Those day-to-day events provide so many more learning opportunities than “the big ones”.
Just as I attempt to turn my daily experiences into something bigger, so should organisations in terms of their learning opportunities. It’s not that difficult – as my own attempts show.
And just as organisations should learn from the day-to-day, so should the improvements to their work be on a day-to-day basis. Yes, they need the occasional big breakthrough but like the best manufacturers they should be relentlessly pursuing the elimination of waste and improvement for their customers throughout their operations.
Footnote – observant public sector readers will realise that my three examples of small events I made something out of all involve private sector companies (although the UK taxpayer owns most of the bank concerned).
But if you check the rest of this blog, you’ll find that I usually draw lessons for public services from my private sector examples. As it happens, I didn’t with the dreaded water saving device for my shower because I was in full rant mode at the time. But hold on, NHS, I’m about to rectify that in my next post.