Reflections on making better use of time and resources


Simplifying and streamlining the way teams work is one of the four areas that RiverRhee Consulting is focusing on. Elisabeth Goodman, Principal Consultant, summarises some of her recent writings and papers on this topic.

Elisabeth recently had the honour of chairing IQPC's conference on Business Process Excellence in Pharmaceuticals, Biotech and Medical Devices in London. She also wrote an article for the Medical Information and Pharmacovigilance community (PIPA) on this subject, and has written a few blogs about it in recent months.

Some of the main themes to emerge from all of these experiences include:

The importance of tying the work we do to organisational goals and customer value.

This is something that Elisabeth Goodman emphasized in her paper for the IQPC conference: "Managing cultural change in business process improvement", and it also comes out strongly in the 3 blogs that she wrote based on the books: "Fake Work", "Predictable results in unpredictable times", and "Chasing the Rabbit". See more on these below.

The need to engage everyone in the process.

Anyone who has worked within, or with an organisation as Elisabeth Goodman has to introduce continuous process improvement will be absolutely convinced that total engagement is the only way to do this. It came out as a strong theme in the IQPC conference, and again her blogs echo this.

The value of a structured approach to underpin this way of working.

The DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control) approach to Lean and Six Sigma, the identification and elimination of wasted time and effort, the reduction of variability in the quality of our processes and outputs, and building these capabilities into the organisation lie at the heart of continuous improvement. Elisabeth Goodman covered some of these in her article for PIPA and these themes are again echoed in some of her blogs.

So, a quick word about some of Elisabeth Goodman's related blogs:

Fake work - a real opportunity to enhance team effectiveness

Common examples of fake work, described in Brent Peterson and Gaylan Nielson's book by the same name as: "effort under the illusion of value", are meetings with no clear purpose, e-mail threads copied to all and sundry, aimless use of the internet, generation of reports and metrics that no-one pays any attention to.

Tying what work is done to organisational goals; keeping a critical eye on how we are spending our time; questioning activities with no clear purpose and role modeling a more effective and efficient approach are all ways that can help us address this potential drain on time, money, and energy.

Achieving more value with less

This blog was based on Steven R Covey, Bob Whitman and Breck England's book: "Predictable results in unpredictable times" and also reiterates the importance of identifying and focusing on the organisation's one, two or three 'wildly important goals'. It echoes comments Elisabeth Goodman has made in previous reflections about the importance of understanding what customers value, and of empowering and supporting employees' efforts to align with both the organisation's goals, and customer priorities.

Problems are the consequence of complex systems and imperfect people

Elisabeth Goodman uses this concept when teaching people about process improvement. It echoes the words of one of her previous managers, who maintained that every problem should be treasured. It takes away the risk of blame and defensiveness, and encourages people to find and address problems as they arise, and share the benefit of the new knowledge gained with the whole organisation. This concept is also at the heart of Steven Spear's book: "Chasing the Rabbit", which she reviewed in her blog "High performing organisations: interweaving process improvement, knowledge management and change management".

You can find these and Elisabeth Goodman's other blogs relating to enhancing team effectiveness on

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To find out more about Elisabeth Goodman, see her profile on LinkedIn -


When I started RiverRhee I knew that I wanted to make a difference to individuals, managers and teams in the workplace. I thought then it was about sharing the principles, methodologies and tools that would enable them to do their best thinking.

I soon realised that it’s all about people too: if we can understand ourselves and others better, we can learn to communicate and interact with each other better, be more productive and deal with change more effectively.

Both of the above are still part of the mix, but my focus now is on the inner brilliance that is within each of us: how we can choose and learn to express that more vividly and consistently in our work and in our everyday life. I look forward to exploring these three levels with you.

Elisabeth Goodman

RiverRhee Consulting