Open Letter to a Government Secretary

Dear Secretary:

You have got to be prepared to take those risks or you … are never going to make that leap in life that you need to make to be a great leader” – Retired Admiral William McRaven.
Some Benefits of the Toyota Production System

Firstly, let me paint a picture of your future organization after implementing the expertise of the Toyota Production System. The advantages of a strong  focus on process and system improvement:

  • Above all, everyone in the Government System is directed toward success,
  • Subsequently, the Government System gains Profound Knowledge of Government processes allowing the understanding of what areas need improvement, and
  • A new winning culture is attained by getting all government employees focused on improving the government System,
  • Consequently, the Government System Seeks Perfection:
    1. At a rate of 11 ideas per employee per year,
    2. Management defines the direction of all these ideas,
    3. Toyota will not expand to a new plant unless they have a critical mass of employees that know this procedure,
    4. This is the reason no competitor will ever catch Toyota, and
    5. Your culture changes to one of winning.
  • Above all, take advantage of the Supplier partner’s capabilities by organizing them into at least 7 categories:
    1. Tier 1: Strategic and deliver Just-in-Time,
    2. Tier 2: Strategic and meeting Sigma Performance Requirements,
    3. Tier 3: Strategic and desired Just-in-Time deliveries,
    4. Tier 4: Strategic and not meeting Sigma Performance Requirements,
    5. Tier 5: Not Strategic and Just-in-Time,
    6. Tier 6: Not strategic and not meeting Sigma Requirements, and
    7. Tier 7: Not Strategic and Meeting Sigma Requirements.
  • Implementing Lean Six Sigma will:
    1. increase process velocity,
    2. Decrease process costs thereby saving your constituents money, and
    3. Increase process quality.
  • Success metrics are periodically reported to management,
  • You attain Profound Knowledge of your whole government system, and
  • Your Government System will get stronger year after year.
An Example of a Winning System

The City of Fort Wayne Indiana desired to delight its constituents. They did this by implementing Lean Six Sigma and one result of this was the ability to repair a pothole within 24 hours of notification.

In Summary

The Toyota Production System is a 6+ Sigma System and there’s no reason your Government System cannot strive for that level of performance. Think about making progress toward a Malcolm Baldrige Award (indicating the realization of Operational Excellence, putting the government in a winning position).


Jim FitzGerald

Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt


Apply the Tools of The 6+ Sigma Toyota Production System to the Government System