There is an African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” Don Shilton, Catalysis Executive coach and former CEO of St. Mary’s Hospital in Kitchener in Ontario, Canada recently referenced this quote while sitting down to record an episode of our podcast, The Lens. Don used this quote to illustrate the value of a buddy system in leadership development. Below are some highlights of what Don shared on the why behind the buddy system and the important characteristics to look for in choosing and identifying a “buddy” in personal development. Continue reading →
Huddles play an important role in a lean management system. Many organizations start implementing a lean management using huddles, primarily in their clinical areas. In a recent podcast, Kim Brown, Chief Compliance Officer, and Beau Gostomsky, VP for Revenue Cycle, from Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City shared about their work to implement huddles in non-clinical areas of their organization. Continue reading →
I came across an article recently in the Sloan Business Review titled “Toxic Culture is Driving the Great Resignation.” The idea that toxic cultures were driving the current great resignation quickly connected with recent conversations I’ve had with friends about their struggles at work. Both friends who reached out have been having issues with their respective bosses at their current organizations. I have been fortunate in my career that most of the people I have reported to have adhered to principles and behaviors that aligned with mine, but I have also reported to individuals where this was not the case, and it was a struggle. I noticed some themes from both conversations and how these lend themselves to the impact of principles, behaviors, and systems on the culture and employee satisfaction at an organization. Continue reading →
This is a revised and updated version of a previous blog of the same title that was originally posted on October 13, 2020.
The goal of the management system for organizational excellence is to develop people to solve problems and improve performance. An effective management system will also open lines of communication from the CEO to the front-line staff, the front-line staff to the CEO, and every level in-between. I am often asked about how organizations that have successfully implemented a management system got through the struggles of implementation and sustainment.
A management system cannot be built overnight, it takes time and dedication to create a strong and successful system. Here is some feedback and observations of organizations that have implemented a management system and how to overcome some of the struggles of implementing a management system. Continue reading →
At the beginning of June hundreds of members of the lean healthcare community gathered at the Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit (in-person in Salt Lake City and virtually) to share how they are thinking systemically and acting with purpose within their organizations. Healthcare organizations that were able to thrive over the past few years relied on systemic thinking to enable them to make purposeful decisions. Systemic thinking and purposeful action are more important than ever as we look ahead to the future and focus on what matters most – patients, staff, and communities. Continue reading →
Organizations implement management systems for many different reasons; to improve performance, open lines of communication, and to develop a team of problem-solvers (to name a few). Adopting a management system requires a different way of leading. It means managing by process rather than managing by objectives. Often organizations realize some quick gains when they begin using a management system, but without intentionality these gains can taper off leaving people frustrated, not knowing what to do next. Continue reading →
“To err is human,” is the famous quote credited to Alexander Pope in the 1700s. As humans we are destined to make mistakes. Daily, many of us will experience or actuate an error of some kind or shape; most of which are harmless or sometimes comical, like wearing two different colored socks.
There is plenty of research out there that explains the genesis and types of errors. We know that many errors are based on skill, knowledge, or the lack thereof, but most often these errors are rooted in the systems around us, the design of those systems, or the environment in which we work within these systems. So, it should not be a surprise that we will always recommend taking a comprehensive improvement principle- and systems-based approach for the most significant and sustainable impact. Continue reading →
In healthcare there is no shortage of problems to solve. Some problems seem to have an easy solution, while others require a much deeper look to understand them. There are many tools for improvement that healthcare organizations use to see and solve problems, including things like 5S, error proofing, pareto charts, and process flow mapping. Some approaches that are not as commonly used are patient discovery and prototyping. These are phases in the design process used in new care model development, but they can be helpful in problem-solving and improvement as well. Continue reading →
Has your boss ever come to you and said, “I’d like to speak with you when you have a minute”? What was your first thought? My first thought would be, “uh oh… I’m in trouble!” Getting and giving feedback can sometimes be an intimidating process. That’s why it is important to understand the feedback process. Feedback plays an integral role when we are learning and/or coaching someone, along with asking questions of inquiry and effective listening.
When you are the giver of feedback in a coaching situation, how do you approach the process? Here are some tips we have found to be effective: Continue reading →
Words matter. The terms systemically and systematically are sometimes used interchangeably, but they shouldn’t be. While they sound similar and have the same root, “system,” these words have different meanings. As we are planning the 2022 Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit around the theme “Think Systemically, Act with Purpose,” I began to put more thought around the meaning of each word and how they relate to building a culture of continuous improvement.
“Think systemically” is one of the Shingo principles of organizational excellence. Shingo defines this as having a thorough understanding of the relationships and interconnections within a system that enables better decision-making and improvements. While systematic thinking and systemic thinking both have a place in a continuous improvement culture, it is important to understand the difference between them. Continue reading →