Having caused a degree of shock and dismay with my first ideas I will tone it down now with something that I have witnessed first hand, become wildly successful. I am curious to see how creative the nay sayers will be about this part of the plan to return the City of Sault Ste. Marie to sustainability.
Joe Scanlon’s Plan
I will not go into detail about who Mr. Joseph N. Scanlon (1899 – 1956) was here and now, you can Google him if you like. Suffice to say that he was instrumental in developing a participative management system that later saw much success in a wide variety of organizations. I worked for a company that choose to institute this type of improvement strategy and was amazed at how well it worked. Although skeptical at first, the positive results generated by this scheme made me a true believer. Implementing one of these plans at City Hall would be a primary goal for me.
The concept was built around work teams that met on an as needed basis to determine where the system they worked in was operating and how to make improvements to it. Ideas that fell within the teams resources can be implemented directly on a trial basis to see if they yield positive results.
Something requiring additional resources, such as engineering expertise or capital investment, are submitted into a suggestion process where other work teams within the organization review it and provide input. It then goes on to the review committee, a group that includes all disciplines within the organization, not just upper level managers. This group is charged with the task of applying the additional resources required to bring the improvement to fruition or if it is simply not feasible, placing it into an annual review process. The most common reasons for ideas being unfeasible are time and budgetary constraints or that the idea will negatively impact one area of the organization more than it will benefit another.
When cost savings are realized though these improvements the employees get a share in the form of a bonus pool that is divided up according to an agreed formula. Most commonly half goes to the employees and half goes to the organization, applied directly to the budget. In this way there is incentive for all employees at every level to come up with cost saving ideas and the community as a whole reaps the benefits. Costs decline, efficiency increases and morale improves; it is quite remarkable to watch it happen.