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One of Cindy Dixon's top priorities is state government efficiency.

As the Office of Administration's general services director and the state director for operational excellence, Dixon juggles the state's vast bureaucratic resources and a multi-departmental workforce aiming to develop the skills and effectiveness of state government employees.

"Sometimes state employees don't get a great rap, and I know how hard they work, and so I want to work hard for them and do everything I can to help them grow and develop," Dixon said. "And that — that excites me."

Following a 13-year run as Missouri's vehicle fleet manager, Dixon moved up to director of general services, a position she's served in for the past five years.

Dixon oversees the Office of Administration's central support services, like state vehicles, risk management, state printing and central mail services, surplus property, recycling and the state workforce's annual charitable campaign.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she led the state's personal protective equipment team in identifying where the equipment could be found and where it was needed, and determining the best methods for getting it there.

Dixon, a Jefferson City native, is coming up on her 30th year working within Missouri state government. Following both of her parents' lead, Dixon joined OA working part-time in high school — in the same division she currently works.

"I've grown up here, which is kind of crazy," Dixon realized.

For the past year, however, Dixon has worn another hat as the statewide director of operational excellence.

In that role, she works with operational excellence leaders throughout state agencies to equip state employees with problem-solving skills and streamline processes to improve the quality of state government customer service.

"It's challenging some days, because you always feel like this tug between a statewide role with the operational excellence lead versus running the division," Dixon said. "I think the thing that has helped me most is — I don't micromanage."

Her trust and confidence in state employees is no surprise as Dixon is the state's point-person for employee development and investment as director of operational excellence.

She looks at problem-solving methodology and performance improvement concepts, and works with others to introduce them to Missouri's workforce.

"If we're all speaking the same language and singing from the same hymnal as far as the same problem-solving tools, then it's going to be easier for us to work together to solve those problems, so we're trying to establish that framework," Dixon said.

The professional development is also beneficial for state employees, Dixon said, as it provides training and skills applicable to many situations.

"There are team members that are really hungry for this type of training," she said.

Dixon said she's been fortunate to have Gov. Mike Parson's and his administration's support for state workforce investment and development.

On Sept. 29, Parson declared October Show Me Excellence Month, which Dixon said is a move that creates awareness for the operational excellence efforts and helps promote the staff training opportunities throughout the month.

"Our cabinet is committed to making real change in state government," Parson said. "As a state government, we must always look for ways to do better than we've done before, and Show Me Excellence Month is about all of our team members working together to find new and improved ways to serve Missourians."

At the beginning of the month, Dixon and her team launched a new statewide training for all Missouri employees called the Show Me Excellence White Belt Course — a four-part skills program centered around visualization, problem-solving, process mapping and organization.

The Virtual Show Me Excellence Summit, scheduled for Oct. 19, is the initiative's major event as it brings together state employees from the 16 executive departments, private-sector professionals and state government improvement experts from around the country.

"Over the past couple years, we've made some great strides in developing our state team members, and this is just one more way that we can do that," Dixon said. "It's all about investing in people."

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