Tag Archives: workarounds

Utah Fights for National Parks

By ThinkReliability Staff

Beginning on October 1, 2013 with the failure to spending approval, the US government entered a partial shutdown including the complete closure of the National Parks, as specified in the National Park Service Contingency Plan.  While the government shutdown had far-reaching effects, both across industry and geographically, areas of Utah   have been hit particularly hard by the closure of multiple National Parks in the area. The shutdown finally ended on October 17 when the government reached a deal to reopen.

A large proportion of Utah businesses are dependent on revenue brought in from tourists visiting the multiple Federal lands in the state, which include National Parks, National Monuments and National Recreation Areas.  A total of five counties in Utah declared a state of emergency, with the counties saying they’re losing up to $300,000 a day.  San Juan County, the last to declare a state of emergency, went a step further and decided it would reopen the parks themselves using local personnel to provide necessary emergency response and facilities for park visitors.

On October 10, the state of Utah came to an agreement with the Department of the Interior to pay for the Park Service to reopen the park for up to 10 days at a cost of $166,572 a day.  (It is possible, though not automatic, that the state will be reimbursed for these costs after funding is restored.)  Luckily a “practical and temporary solution” (as described by the Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell) was found before county officials had to resort to what they described as “civil disobedience”.  (Trespassing in a National Park can result in a citation that could lead to fines or jail terms.)

This situation mirrors that frequently found on a smaller scale in all workplaces.  Concerned employees find themselves in circumstances that they believe are not in the best interest of their company or customers.  If support for change is not provided by management, these employees will develop work-around (like illegally reopening a National Park to allow tourists to enter).  Sometimes workarounds are actually a more effective way of completing work tasks, but they can also sometimes lead to unintended consequences that can be disastrous.

This is why the most effective work processes are developed with the experience and insight of employees at all levels.  Taking their concerns into account at the development of procedures and on an ongoing basis will reduce the use of potentially risky workarounds, and can increase the success of all an organization’s goals.

To view the Outline, Cause Map, and considered solutions, please click “Download PDF” above.  Or click here to read more.