It took 15 min to explain, why was something so simple new to her?
The viewpoint that the head of service has of her service, relies exclusively on the reports hitting her desk, the meetings she has with her managers, and the measures she has to present to her boss. In the meantime she is pushed by her boss to slash costs, and improve some of the end to end times. Her view of her service is very different to anyone elses, as she focuses on the performance of the individual departments within her service.
It took 15 monutes, because she had never seen her work flow end to end before, and it was simple to understand.
Her focus was
She relies on her managers running the service, she does not actually do this herself. Her time is spent meeting senior people, talking about strategy, and managing her staff. Her focus on the departents and their managers through measures, gives her a very fragmented view of the workflow. She could explain how the formal procedures worked in her service, but not how the flow works.
Her barriers to understanding were
The reason whe could not 'see' the overall problems with her service, was that she was seeing her service as made up of seperate functions. And those functions were defined by numbers of people doing work. The measures she used were driving staff behaviour in departmental infighting and passing on poor work to others - waste. Her focus was also on the IT system, and believing what her managers were telling her.
These were all stopping her seeing the true end to end flow. No-one can see both views at the same time, its one or the other.
What does she need to do now, using a systems approach?
She needs to
How does she continue using a systems approach?
The head of service previously understood that people working hard is good, but it was far better to understand if staff were working hard on doing value work, or on waste work. She would then focus on cutting the waste, and leave the value work to carry on. This is an example of how she had to unpick some of those things she thought were the right thing to do, and learn how to understand that from a different perspective.
Her frame of reference; her thinking, is now a systems picture that shows the whole system on one flipchart on a wall in her office. It is used constantly in discussions with her managers.