Finding purpose in your work - a case study from the Ankeny Driver's license staff

DL42-WordleWhy do you come to work every day? Sure, we all get paid, but to keep coming back, there is probably a deeper purpose to your daily trip from home to work. Exploring that purpose was the point of a recent Lean Six Sigma exercise by the driver’s license staff team at the Ankeny driver’s license station. The Iowa DOT has been using Lean Six sigma process improvement tools for several years to improve the way we do what we do. There are several activities associated with the process improvement method. The Ankeny driver's license station team worked through the Paper Passing Purpose Tool (P3T), to determine a purpose statement.  

Melissa Spiegel, of the Office of Driver Services, led the group through the exercise. She said, “The goal was to come up with a purpose statement for the team. Because of the front-line duties of our team, we had several short meetings to work through the process. First, we worked to identify how we fit into the Iowa DOT as a whole. Then each person was asked to come up with thoughts as to why the team exists and write those thoughts on sticky notes. They passed the notes around and everyone got to underline the ideas or thoughts they felt were most important. Then they drafted their own paragraphs based on their words and phrases. Each person got to have a say in the purpose statement. That built ownership in the process and the final product.”

Once Spiegel had collected paragraphs from each team member, she worked with Quinta Miller and Kathy Schultz, the team’s supervisors, to combine the words into a document that will serve as the team’s purpose statement:

“We provide a high level of customer service in a timely manner while maintaining a professional atmosphere. Recognizing the importance of quality driver’s license and identity management, we promote mobility for the State of Iowa. We are intrinsically motivated to identify and meet the needs of all of our customers, and we strive to provide guidance as we serve as a resource to them. Further, we take pride in working as a cohesive team to improve effectiveness and efficiency as we are continually moving forward.”

Spiegel said, “The product was a good one, but the process was even better. In a driver’s license station environment, our team members don’t have a lot of time to think about the bigger picture. This exercise gave us a chance to do that.”

DL42 - KathyMelissaQuinta
(from left) Kathy Schultz, Melissa Spiegel and Quinta Miller

In addition to the purpose statement, Spiegel took the team’s vision a step further and created a piece of word art with the phrases the group identified. “We now hang this in our work area to remind us all of why we are here and that we can accomplish a lot when we work together.”

Here is a link to the Prezi the team put together that details the process for determining their purpose statement.

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