Opinion
October 4, 2012

“I’ve made suggestions to improve things, they just ignore it.”

I was exiting a municipal parking lot today. There was congestion, because there is no ticket reader at the exit. There is a machine there, but it doesn’t read tickets. The ticket reader is actually two or three car lengths back from the bar that controls your exit. So most cars miss the machine, find they can’t pay and exit, so have to back up. Frustrating. But also a real problem if there is a car behind you that made the same choice. As well, the machine where you pay your ticket before exiting isn’t near the pedestrian entry, it isn’t near the exit, it isn’t on the ground floor. It isn’t on the second floor either. If parked on the first floor, you have climb the stairs to the third floor, pay at the machine, and then go back to the first floor. Then try to figure out how to exit.

Systems should be designed to be efficient. Whoever designed the parking lot made a mistake. I asked the attendant if he had ever brought this problem, which is recurring every day, to the attention of his supervisor. “Yes,” he said, “I’ve made suggestions to improve things, they just ignore it.”

Governments are busy downsizing. But how much are they doing to improve their processes? How pervasive is this “clay layer” of management that isn’t open to the simplest suggestions for improvement? How can we encourage line staff to persist in seeking small improvements that collectively will make a difference? How can we make mid-management more receptive?

A mild frustration, but is it indicative of how things go at your workplace, or one you know of?

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