November 25, 2019


You may have heard talk about “continuous improvement.” All 16 departments are working to make this approach the way we work together every day.

Don’t be put off by the jargon. It is really common sense. “Continuous improvement” is about listening to the team members who do the work every day and finding ways to improve how we work together. It’s about cutting out the clutter and frustrations in our work that slow us down and keep us for doing our best. It’s about making sure team members have the tools and opportunities to make their work lives better every day.

After all, why should we have to get over 10 approvals to do something when one should do? Why should we and our citizens have to fill out a bunch of paper work when a simple online form could work?  Why should we work in cluttered work spaces – physical or in our in-boxes – that frustrate us, slow us down, and sometimes even impact safety?

Last month, we took another step forward in our journey. More than 300 State of Missouri team members came together for the state’s first Continuous Improvement Summit. They came from all 16 executive departments. They came from across the state. They included team members from all roles – from department directors to frontline staff. They came together to learn from each other and experts from business and other governments.

Learn more about the Continuous Improvement Summit:


Watch the video with closed captioning

The summit showcased how you and your colleagues are making things better every day in all our departments.  For example:

  • cutting out unnecessary approvals to purchase work boots
  • reducing the time it takes to hire a new employee
  • improving customer service at our call centers which handle over 14 million calls a year
  • accelerating how fast we get lab results
  • offering better service to businesses

The summit also included other great organizations who live by continuous improvement every day. The summit learned from St. Louis-based Boeing and Chapman & Co. Leadership Institute, the Great Game of Business from Springfield, and MidwayUSA from Columbia, as well as other governments including Iowa, Nebraska, and Greene.

The summit participants also voted on what to call the state government’s continuous improvement program – and “Show-Me Excellence” won!

If you want to learn more about Show-Me Excellence and how to get involved in training or projects, reach out to your department’s lead:

  • Administration: Cindy Dixon
  • Agriculture: Jennifer Hentges
  • Conservation: Kendra Witthaus
  • Commerce and Insurance: Grady Martin
  • Corrections: David Edwards
  • Economic Development: Paul Eisenstein
  • Elementary and Secondary Education: Pam Thomas
  • Health and Senior Services: Lee Pearson
  • Higher Education and Workforce Development: Danielle Briot
  • Labor and Industrial Relations: Colleen Dowd
  • Mental Health: Julia LePage
  • Natural Resources: Colette Weckenborg
  • Public Safety: Kenny Jones
  • Revenue: Lynn Kempker
  • Social Services: Michele Renkemeyer
  • Transportation: Ben Reeser

Your hard work and dedication to making our state better is something our fellow citizens can be thankful for.
I hope you all have the opportunity to enjoy Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Best regards,
Drew Erdmann
Chief Operating Officer
State of Missouri

Drew Erdmann Emoji