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2016 OPSI Articles

The 5 Whys

By Penny Macias | November 17, 2016

There are several tools we use in LEAN/Six Sigma to help improve a problem. One of my favorites is the 5 Whys. In LEAN/Six Sigma, we use the DMAIC approach to improvement. DMAIC is short for: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. When we "analyze," we are trying to find the root cause(s) of a problem. The Root Cause is the thing or issue, that if fixed, should eliminate the problem all together. Sometimes, what we think is the cause, is actually a symptom. We have to dig deeper to see the real root. Read more...

Guest Blog - Being Receptive to the Ideas of Others (Part II)

By Jon Galchik, OPSI Champion | November 2, 2016

Read Part I

We have all been to meetings where we reject the ideas of others. This behavior suppresses creativity. In an environment where we perceive a shortage of resources, we need to be receptive to the ideas of others. Thomas Keen, author of Creativity Exists in All of Us, an article published by the Association for Talent Development, suggests there are 10 guidelines for creative thinking success.  Read more...

How to Create a Culture

By Robyn Undieme | September 16, 2016

Below is a story I heard during my time at Oxford that made me want to yell in my seat, "Yes, that's so true!" This isn't a new story, but it's a cautionary tale of how a dysfunctional culture can get started. It focuses on the negative creation of culture, but there's also such a thing as creating a positive culture. I share this, both as a warning as well as encouragement that our actions have a long-term impact beyond what we may see: good or bad. If you find yourself stuck in a negative culture, consider how your words and actions have the power to alter that reality for future City workers by asking the question, "Why?"  Read more...

Identify Your Customers

By Penny Macias | September 8, 2016

Did you know that Customer Service Week is October 3-7? With that being said, do you know who your customer is? Is it anyone who pays sales tax or is it your Department Head? In LEAN/Six Sigma your customers are the direct users of your services. They are the reason your work group exists. Often times people mistake stakeholders - people who can influence your work or have a stake in the delivery of the product - as customers. That mistake can make it difficult or impossible to deliver quality services to the real customers.  Read more...

Effective Leadership Series: Part IV; Coaching Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

By Robyn Undieme | August 18, 2016

We're at the last part of my series on leadership. I hope you've identified with the aspects of Daniel Goleman's six leadership styles. It's important to remember this is just one model on leadership.  There are other models out there that can fill in some of the gaps where this model perhaps falls short.  Read more...

Effective Leadership Series: Part III; Democratic and Pacesetting Leadership

By Robyn Undieme | June 23, 2016

We're halfway through the six leadership styles. So far we've identified the Coercive form of leadership which is very hierarchical and demanding from a top-down approach. I've also covered Authoritative and Affiliative. Authoritative leadership is visionary and inspires others, while Affiliative leadership is concerned with improving culture and morale. This week, I'll be summarizing two new approaches: Democratic and Pacesetting.  Read more...

Effective Leadership Series: Part II - Authoritative and Affiliative Leadership

By Robyn Undieme | June 2, 2016

This marks the second part of my leadership style series. My last blog highlighted the Coercive style of leadership, which you may recall is a volatile style but still serves a purpose. This week I'm talking about two extremely opposite styles from Coercive: Authoritative and Affiliative styles of leadership. Read more...

Effective Leadership Series: Part I - Coercive Leadership

By Robyn Undieme | May 18, 2016

Do you know an effective leader here at the City? How is this person effective? Is he or she a person who communicates well, or someone who motivates and inspires your division or department?  Or does he or she simply get things done? Read more...

Never Stop Team Building

By Penny Macias | April 14, 2016

Imagine a group of savvy people - April, Austin, Amanda, and Andrew - started a business called Unicorns and Beyond. They worked for months on designing the unicorns to sell, putting together a business plan, acquiring funding, and creating a business. They were an amazing team who shared a vision. Each had a different role, but together, they were "The A Team." Read more...

Who Let the Dog Out?

By Robyn Undieme | March 24, 2016

Some people like to people watch; I on the other hand like to interview people about what they do for a living. I find careers to be fascinating and here within the City we have a diverse set of jobs from which to choose. About a month or two ago, I decided to do a ride-along with Animal Welfare to learn more about what their employees do, day in and day out. Read more...

Always Have Options for Solutions When Presenting Problems

By Penny Macias| February 24, 2016

Imagine going to the doctor and receiving a diagnosis or going to the mechanic and learning what's wrong with your car. As soon as you hear about the problem, you expect to hear what your options are for a solution. You want to know what treatments are available, how much they'll cost, how long it will take, etc. You expect the expert to answer all of these questions because that's partly why you pay them - to diagnose AND resolve. You also expect them to bring in other experts when necessary. You want the best possible solution available and when you get it, your trust in that expert increases. Read more...

Lean/Six Sigma for Design

By Penny Macias | February 11, 2016

LEAN/Six Sigma is often discussed in the context of improving a process to improve results and increase customer satisfaction. Cities across the country have worked to implement LEAN/Six Sigma in their organizations to improve results for their citizens and have seen a variety of successes. This program is not just for improving an existing process; it can also be used to design a new process. Read more...

Six Sigma Training

By Robyn Undieme | February 1, 2016

Have you heard? The MAAP Office is offering LEAN/Six Sigma training to City employees. If you haven't heard of LEAN/Six Sigma before, then let me share with you why you should be excited by this news. Read more...

Shake It Up

By Penny Macias | January 14, 2016

Are you at the point in your career where you feel like you could just cruise through the day without much hassle? When you started your job you had to learn policies and procedures, as well as names and faces. At some point you learn the details and nuances and the majority of the day is predictable. If that's the case and you feel pretty comfortable, I have a suggestion for you. Read more...