Role clarity, efficient workflows, and consistency: Hefty goals for a recent engagement with the Creative Services Team at John Tyler Community College. 

As the session started, it was clear the team works well together. And it was clear that their drive for a common purpose and for consistency in their work would require more than healthy relationships.

The team’s engagement began with the creation of an internal mission and vision statement. Establishing more clarity and alignment around purpose sets the stage for a team to change the way it engages around work. In the case of the John Tyler team, it allowed the rest of the day to focus around work flow and role clarity.

Why the emphasis on work flow?

In the old Road Runner cartoons, Wile E. Coyote is always on a rocket careening down a road and focused on one thing – catching the Road Runner. The frame zooms out to show the road coming to an abrupt stop at a canyon. There’s the moment of realization, a look of panic, and then the inevitable dust cloud when the coyote goes off the cliff.

Work flows have gaps, and when teams are running fast – well, we go over the cliff. It’s rarely pretty.

Being a creative services team, we asked the folks at John Tyler to be creative. They drew a visual of their current workflow. They worked through decision making points, and they named their ideal client experience.

By mapping their work flow on paper, they were able to get off of the rocket and look at the road. They saw the gaps, and the potential cliffs. And they looked for solutions. All too often we focus on how the gap can’t be fixed. We throw up our hands or we try to fill it with a behavior not natural to our own. We were inspired by the way this team balanced their opportunities with their strengths.  

This was not our first encounter with this team at John Tyler Community College. Seeing a team evolve and incorporate their work with us into the day-to-day operations is always fulfilling. 

Can you imagine what Wile E. Cyote would be like if he had that type of self-awareness? It would have made for a far less enjoyable cartoon, but maybe leveraging his strength in determination would have driven some new, less catastrophic behaviors.