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How to Sustain a Management System

Posted on by CATALYSIS

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 →

They Say “To Err is Human”

Posted on by Jean Lakin

“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 →

A Different Approach to Problem-Solving

Posted on by CATALYSIS

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 →

A Better Way to Provide Feedback

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 →

Are You Thinking Systemically or Systematically?

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 →

What Does it Mean to be Lean?

A friend of mine recently took a new job at an organization that emphasized its practice and company culture of lean during the interview process. My friend was very excited about this opportunity because I have shared with them about the work I do and how different it is working for an organization that strives for organizational excellence. A few weeks after starting their new role, my friend began confiding in me about their disappointment with the organization and their experiences at work. I couldn’t help thinking; first that I am grateful to work where I do, and second, how could an organization be getting lean so “wrong?” Continue reading →

Tips for Creating and Maintaining Processes

Standard processes are fundamental in a continuous improvement environment.  They help us to remove waste and address issues more effectively. Focus on process is one of the foundational principles for Organizational Excellence as defined by the Shingo Institute. Creating and maintaining processes takes deliberate focus and commitment. Here are some tips to guide you as you approach processes in your work. Continue reading →

Dos and Don’ts of Implementing a Management System

Posted on by CATALYSIS

A management system can help you understand your business, create alignment throughout your organization, measure and review performance in real-time, enable problem-solving in the gemba, and sustain improvements. These are just a few reasons why hospitals and healthcare systems around the world are implementing management systems. Data has shown that hospitals with management systems in place were able to respond to crises better than those without because these hospitals were able to rely on the process to communicate from the front lines to leadership and from leadership to front lines effectively. Continue reading →

How Simple 5S Saved My Sanity

Working remotely had been my method of operation for the last seven years. I had my protected office space, had found my groove and our family had found a solid routine that worked for us, even though I travelled quite frequently. Now, throw in a pandemic, along with virtual learning/instruction for one elementary student, one 3-year-old toddler, a move to a new home that brought along with it two additional housemates (my parents live in our in-law suite one-third of the year), and gaining one additional office mate, now that my husband is fully remote as well: this had the makings of a recipe for disaster. My protected space and time were thrown right out of the window. Continue reading →