A different kind of nothing (Day 306/365)

I’m claiming much of what I did today as creative, simply because much of what I did today has been based on years of creative problem solving in the role of assistant program director of GHP. No one gets as efficient as I am without figuring out how to make the whole thing flow.

Which is one reason I get very annoyed when others haven’t figured it out. That’s also my overwhelming greenness, of course. However, why should I have to remind myself to send specific emails a week before I arrive so that it will be remembered that I’m coming and that I will need a) keys, b) parking pass of a specific kind, c) a parking place, d) an ID, etc., etc.? Why don’t they have a production manual of their own, so that when that fateful day pops up on their calendar, they have something in writing that tells them: Get parking pass ready. Remind staff that GHP is coming and how they differ from our regular clients. Chill the champagne. I am amazed every year at the breakdowns.

I have one document entitled “What to Print and When,” and it does exactly what it says: it tells me day by day for an entire week which of the 30+ documents I need to print in order to have them ready for the next day or two. If I have it open on my computer, I can actually just click on the names of the documents, which I have linked to the documents.

I have another document, some fifteen pages long, which is literally my production manual. It’s a huge timeline, starting the week before I get here and going week by week through the program, and day by day at rugged points like opening and closing. It tells me things like Unalarm end doors and Prepare a sticky note for each returning staff member with name and preferred room number and Be in the Palms lobby to collect the preference forms.

So what is all this for? It’s so that as my instructional staff arrives, the amount of hassle they encounter is reduced. It’s so they will have the information they need to do their jobs, and within four days, the students will have the information they need to negotiate the opening of the program.

It’s also to protect my sanity, so I’m not caught flat-footed by my staff’s needs. This has taken years of notating and adjusting and readjusting. The Lyles Theorem of Process Development states that “It takes three years to get any process right, if you don’t change the process.”

I reminded myself of the Theorem today as I was trying to make sure all the instructional room keys worked, and trying to figure out which keys we are missing so I can request them, a task I thought I had done a couple of weeks ago when I was asked to submit a complete list of keys we needed, and I did. I reminded myself that part of the process of process development is building in recursion to cushion your process from external loose ends. I reminded myself how to figure out how to do that for this process in FileMaker Pro.

But that’s creativity for another day.

59 days to go.

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