Using DMAIC principles in reviewing the US Stimulus Plans

You may ask, how can my DMAIC tools be used to understand the stimulus plans? Well this thought came to me while one of my students was sharing concerns over some piece of the stimulus plans, as they were saying “How can they do something so stupid?”. All of us probably have some reservation about a piece or two of the current stimulus plan. But it made me think back to a prior coaching session to another student who was in the middle of their CMAIC project.

The student had found a behavior that was clearly wrong and developing later problems for the business. Their comment was “How could they be so stupid?” My guidance to the student was that they might be asking the wrong question. What do you thing might be a better question?

Pause for you to think.

Now, a better question might be “What causes the people to choose that behavior, despite the known consequences?” Start out believing that each person is smart and is making the best decision based on their inputs and the motivators. Until you understand why the people are making the choices they are making, you will not be able to lead them into changing. The best DMAIC improvement plan that has ever been created will not change behavior if it does not address the why the old behavior existed.

Now consider how this view might apply to an understanding of the stimulus package, and almost anything the government does. The real question to ask is “Why did the choose to spend that money on things that they know many in the voting public would not like?” This is the real question to answer. It is not, “How do they think that will stimulate the economy?” it is why would they choose it to spend money. I believe that our elected representatives want the country to recover from these economic problems as quickly as they can. Knowing this, why did they allocate the money as they did in the stimulus package?

I ask myself that question quite often. Actions by both parties, whether in power or not. Even at the local and state levels, this is a valid question. I believe it comes down to a strong motivator. The elected official’s need to get re-elected and to stay in power. If this is a strong motivator for their behavior, that is what we as voters need to deal with or nothing will change. I do not know the answer, but I believe I do know the question to ask of our elected representatives. “Why did you choose to do that?”

Use your DMAIC problem solving tools to examine our government the same as you might use them to understand your business. Let me know what you find.

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