Earlier this year I introduced my vision for ITD – the direction we should go as a department and the steps we will need to take to get there. I would like to fill in some of the details that will enable us to move forward together.
In this Direct from the Director, I will elaborate on my first vision element:
ITD strives to continually get better with the goal of being the best transportation department in the country.
An essential part of my vision is to continually strive for improvement, with the goal of becoming the best transportation department in the country. It is an ambitious goal, I admit, but I believe it is well within our reach if we work hard and work together.
To succeed, we will need to incorporate demonstrated best practices from other states and transportation departments. Our challenge is not to merely follow best practices, but to set the standard in transportation – to create best practices for others to follow. Through innovative approaches, we can move into that leadership role.
We must create an environment that promotes, within reason, new approaches, ideas and new practices. If you are confident that your proposal merits consideration, please suggest it to your supervisor. We will try those that make sense. If the proposal fails, we will have learned something in the process and be better able to pursue other options. Nothing is ever discovered or developed by continuing to do things the same way they have always been done.
I strongly believe that competition is fundamental to improvement. It helps all of us to get better as individuals and as an organization. I hope each of you will challenge your colleagues to continue moving forward. I truly want you to feel the satisfaction of excelling. It’s a personal choice and an organizational goal.
Challenge and competition means we must set our expectations high; we cannot be content to accept goals that are easy to achieve. Consider the high jump event in track and field. Even average jumpers can clear the bar when it’s set low. Gradually increasing the height narrows the field to the best competitor. It is our goal to be the last jumper standing.
I would rather explain why we are not meeting the high goals we set than explain why we are achieving goals that mark us as an average organization.
How will we know when we have arrived? I believe there are two distinct benchmarks that will define our success:
Only when those two standards are met, will I acknowledge that we have become the best, that we have achieved our goal. It will take time. It will take energy. It will take risk. And it will take a team approach.
I challenge you to begin that road of steady improvement. Celebrate the many successes along the way, but continue moving toward that next level.
I will build on another element in becoming an organization striving to get better in my next Direct from the Director: ITD is transparent, accountable and delivers on its promises.
Brian W. Ness