May - June, 2013

Volume 3, Number 3

In This Issue

·    Checking the Score

·    Lean Government is a Reality

·    Do You Know the 3-57 and 15-2-20 Rules?

·    You’ve Got (a lot of)  Mail!

·    Link of the Month

·    Who Resists Change the Most?

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Checking the Score


Our year is almost half over – time is flying by!  Hopefully many great things are happening for you and new adventures are appearing on the horizon.

Since it is “half-time” for our year, it’s a good time to drop back for a moment and check the score.  

·         How is progress toward your objectives over the last six months? 

·         How are things looking for the next quarter? 

·         What can you do right now – today -- to help ensure you maintain momentum and get everything checked off your list with a score of an “A+”?

We’re heading into summer with the economy on an uptick, sunny skies and many good times lying ahead.  Be sure to take some moments to (safely) fire up your grill, turn on your favorite summer sound track and congratulate yourself for surviving another six months in these crazy times!


Have an excellent month!


Jeff Cole


JCG Management Consulting

Lean Government is a Reality

When it comes to Operational Excellence methods like Lean and Six Sigma, a common myth is that these techniques are only relevant in manufacturing organizations.  City governments, for example, would never find them applicable, right?  Not so, according to the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).  In fact, their entire June issue of Government Finance Review is dedicated to the topic of applying Lean to government.

Developed at Toyota and sometimes called the “Toyota Production System (TPS)”, “Lean Enterprise” or simply “Lean”, the methods have been around for decades helping a number of industries ranging from hard-core manufacturing to the softest of services.  Offering a nice range of different tools that can be learned quickly and applied immediately, Lean is one of the more popular OpEx methods around today.  City governments have been able to rack up some impressive gains using Lean, including:


  • Commercial permit review times reduced by 76%
  • Utility locate process reduced from 32 to 7 steps and cycle time reduced 48%
  • 50% reduction in errors and rework on legal services requests
  • Construction time reduced by 28%


Many government processes are a “target rich” environment for process improvements and Lean is one great way to approach it.  To read the lead article in the current GFOA lean issue, co-authored by JCG President Jeff Cole and GFOA Senior Research Manager Shayne Kavanagh, click here.

Do You Know the 3-57 and 15-2-20 Rules?

Jay Arthur is a unique man.  In addition to creating and marketing a very popular Excel add-in for statistical analysis, he has consulted with many clients, helping them to save time and money.  His book Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals is a classic.  In another of his books,  Free, Perfect, and Now,  he shares a quite interesting rule of thumb called the 3-57 Rule.

According to Jay, “In most businesses, employees are only working on the product or service for 3 minutes out of every hour, leaving 57 minutes of delay.”    He follows this up with the 15-2-20 Rule which states that for every 15 minutes per hour you reduce those 57 minutes of delay, you will double productivity and increase profit margins by 20 percent! 

Click here to learn more about Jay’s book.

You’ve Got (a lot of) Mail!

USA Today recently reported the results of a study based on a Harvard Business Review survey.    The average number of emails a typical worker receives each year is 11,680!   That doesn’t mean each one of those was important.  According to the survey, about 74% of the incoming email was junk that never made

it to the In Box.   The bad news?  Respondents spent an average of 111 work days annually dealing with email!   The good news?  Once you read this email you only have 11,679 more to go…

Link of the Month

If you find yourself frequently showing videos or pictures on the big screen TV in your conference room (or if you like to stream video content from your phone or pc to your TV at home), you can now go wireless very easily.

Rather than bother with old-school HDMI cables to hook your device into the television, devices such as the new Plair use wi-fi to stream content from your laptop, tablet, or phone directly to an HDMI-capable TV or projector.  It fits in your pocket and only needs a USB port.  Plug it in, connect to the app, and you’re in business! 

Who Resists Change the Most?

Do you intend to retire some day from the exact job you are in at this moment?  If not, then change is definitely on your horizon. Change is something we all must live with as part of our daily work lives.  It’s coming – it’s just a matter of when and where and if it’s good or disruptive change.   A disruptive change that catches you by surprise can lead to resistance.

It’s no wonder then that people in organizations all over the world are resisting changes in the workplace.  It’s a natural phenomenon to be expected in any large or complex process change. 


Here’s a quiz:  Suppose you had a large organization with multiple levels of management:

  • Executive leaders
  • Senior managers
  • Middle managers
  • Line supervisors
  • Individual workers

Which of these groups do you suppose is the most resistant to change?  The answer may surprise you – it’s middle management according to one survey.   To find out why and see some tips on how to handle this phenomenon, click here for a short article.



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