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Local Government Solutions

The key to governmental success is to be open to both new and old ideas. We'll help you determine which local government solutions work best for your county, town or city.

Doing More with Less...One Approach

In the television series "MacGyver," the lead character would, at some point in every episode, find himself in a very tight jam. Be it handcuffed to an explosive device, timer ticking away, about to blow up half the free world; or single-handedly having to defend a small town from an attack of trained mercenaries with nothing but dental floss, baby powder, and a can of Raid with which to create a weapon. Sure enough, every episode he managed to make something from nothing and, yes, save the day.

Local government managers do not have it so easy. Unfortunately, you are already expected to make something from nothing... or at least make it from less than you had to make it with last year. Also, not only are you not left to your own resources; you are burdened with the inevitable "strings" that come attached to you as a public servant. Heck, saving the free world doesn't sound so tough.

The Problem: Doing More with Less

The solution: Map it!
Whether you're evaluating a process, a service, or an entire department, process mapping may be a technique you can use. It is a technique that will enable you to utilize the talent and information available to you and determine if there is a way to in fact do more with less. Process mapping is a technique that allows you to explore and visualize how a system operates or a service is delivered from both a broad and general (macro) perspective, a more detailed (micro) perspective, or both.

Process mapping is the visual representation of a process that illustrates:

  • What activities are being completed.
  • Who is completing them, and when.
  • Starting and stopping points of major tasks.
  • The sequence of events and hand-offs between individuals.
  • Internal and external functional limitations.

In other words, process mapping diagrams how a system operates. The process diagram itself, however, is not the end result.

The value of the process is that no matter how well we think we know a system, we will inevitably identify existing or potential service gaps that can be filled or improved. Once these gaps are identified, solutions addressing improved service, cost savings, and time issues are often discovered. This is when the critical assessment of what really happens occurs and the opportunity to visualize what is, what should be, and what could be comes into focus. Subsequently, assuming the right people have been involved in the mapping process, broad organizational support, i.e., "buy-in" for the improvements suggested will be realized.

The Keys to a Successful Process Mapping Effort

There are three keys to effective process mapping:

  • Listen Objectively
  • Ask the Tough Questions
  • Involve the Right People 

During times of fiscal restraint, you must take time to plan. As well, you must look with scrutiny at the activities in which you and your employees are involved with on a daily basis. Those activities and processes impact the delivery of services to your constituents. While it is likely to take longer than one of MacGyver's 60-minute episodes to address, we have yet to work with anyone who has not been pleased with the results of a sincere process mapping effort. Good Luck!