On Wednesday of this week, Arizona Department of Water Resources director Tom Buschatzke talked with the entire ADWR staff about the future of the department: About its mission to protect the vital water resources of the State in a time of unprecedented drought and as state government transforms it's business model to the Arizona Management System.
Following is the essence of the director’s message to the department:
Thank you all for being here.
I know that it’s not often that we get to meet together as a team so I do appreciate your time this morning. I have called this meeting so that I could connect with you all regarding our participation in the Arizona Management System.
The Arizona Management System was developed as part of Governor Ducey’s vision for Arizona to be the number one state to live, work, play, recreate, retire, visit, do business, and get an education.
The Arizona Management System is a professional, results-driven management system developed to transform the way our State government thinks and does business as one enterprise. Through this process, State agencies are doing more good for Arizona by tracking and improving their performance each and every day.
AMS is about problem-solving – about finding new ways to be efficient and productive and then standardizing those new efficiencies as part of our job descriptions.
And it’s about respect: No one here at Water Resources knows more about how to best do the job than the person doing it. The Arizona Management System is training managers to listen carefully to proposals of staff and to act on their ideas.
It is emphatically not about doing more with less. Government reform projects have been down that road before and the results haven’t been pretty. ADWR is adding staff right now precisely because Governor Ducey recognizes the value of what we do.
I’d like to talk a little bit about the support Governor Ducey has demonstrated for ADWR.
This Department is fortunate that Governor Ducey recognizes the importance of the work that we do here. He recognizes the importance of ADWR’s Mission.
ADWR is the steward of Arizona’s water future and ensures long-term, reliable water supplies to support the continued economic prosperity of the State. We are the state’s spearpoint in the effort to assure water-supply stability through an extended period of drought. This mission was put in place long before I was appointed Director.
With the help of our senior management team, we have developed a set of ADWR core values. These values are consistent with Governor Ducey’s vision for the state. I believe the Arizona Management System will help us realize that vision.
The Governor’s support for the work of ADWR is no secret. He has expressed it in public on several occasions. And to that point, I’d like to mention that ADWR was one of the few agencies that was highlighted during the Governor’s State of the State speech earlier this year.
I’ll share a direct quote from that speech, “If there’s one thing Arizona is best in the nation at – it’s water”.
As part of Governor Ducey’s vision, his team surveyed community leaders throughout the state and asked them to provide feedback on what they believe defines success for Arizona.
When asked what is important – to community leaders - water sustainability was the ONLY issue that everyone deemed vital.
Earlier this year I sent out a survey to our customers and asked them directly about their interactions with our agency.
In that survey, I asked them: What processes could we improve? What permits, licenses, approvals, authorizations, et cetera we could process faster? I also asked what services they’d like to see online.
I received lots of valuable feedback from our customers, and based on the information provided, I believe that there are some opportunities for us to make improvements. It was also no surprise to me that I received lots of positive feedback regarding the customer service that our team provides.
This is information I think is important to share with all of you. A fundamental tenet of AMS is that each of you identify what works and what doesn’t and empowers you to design and implement process improvements.
So, what’s the next step? How do we continue to improve?
Through the Arizona Management System process, we are going to learn to use standard methods and techniques for data-driven decision-making and problem solving which will make us even better and more efficient at what we do.
We have all had those days when we’re working on a project and we told ourselves… “if I could make this one change—that would make this process much easier”.
Well, now’s your chance. That is exactly what the AMS process is. You all are empowered to make the changes needed to make YOU more efficient and better at what you do.
This process is NOT a top-down process. Managers aren’t going to come in and tell you how to do your job better. This is a bottom-up process in which everyone contributes. You have been empowered. You are in control.
Another benefit of this initiative is that it allows for collaboration between you and your colleagues. Several times a week you and your team members will come together to discuss the challenges that you’re facing in your everyday work processes. Collectively, as a team, you’ll work to develop solutions to those challenges.
I ask that you all have patience with this process and give it a chance to succeed.
I’m looking forward to rolling out the Arizona Management System. I believe there will be great benefits to not only our ADWR team, but to the people that we serve.