Maximize the Success of your Lean Management System Implementation

Posted on by Paul Pejsa

At Catalysis, we frequently see Lean Management Systems (LMSs) that have been rolled out rapidly and broadly across the organization, sometimes with varying levels of support and buy-in. The result of these implementations can be uneven improvement progress, staff frustration with the LMS, and limited progress on the organization’s lean transformation journey.

Below are some strategies to help you with rolling out a Lean Management System.

“The way we do” instead of “one more thing to do”

Early in the adoption of a Lean Management System, this new way of managing operations is fragile, because it feels like “one more thing to do” instead of “the way we do.”   This risk can be minimized with close support in the form of operational leader coaching by the improvement team or senior leaders to encourage principle – based behaviors and reinforce that LMS is the one way to manage the business. Practicing the elements of the new LMS at the senior leadership level is one of the most effective ways of demonstrating to the organization that this is the new “way we do.”

Start small

To effectively support the new “way we do,” a limited number of LMS pilots should be implemented, ideally in the form of a narrow and deep experiment called a “model cell.”  The model cell focuses all improvement activity in a single area, preferably where leadership is ready for change and a key business problem needs to be solved. In the model cell, Key Behavioral Indicators (KBIs) can also be practiced in a safe learning environment

Operational leader support and buy-in

Most healthcare organizations have several legacy operating systems that will eventually be replaced by the LMS in whole or large part.  During the transition period from legacy to LMS, it can feel like one has a foot in two canoes which can make leadership support and buy-in challenging.

Rolling out an LMS is an intensive effort for leadership, the improvement team, and operational leaders. Consequently, it is very important to pay close attention to the availability of leadership and improvement team support for these fledgling systems. Since most healthcare organizations do not have the resources to support many LMS deployments across multiple departments, intense focus by leadership and the improvement team increases the likelihood of rapid success with the initial efforts.  We regularly see up to 50% improvement in Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and great progress on KBIs.  This success is real encouragement for operational leadership to support and buy-in.

The implementation of an LMS is serious business, not to be taken lightly (or “deployed by Powerpoint”). Committed support by senior leaders, the improvement team and key operational leaders is required, and this work should be undertaken in a model cell.

If you’ve rolled out an LMS too broadly and/or quickly, it might make sense to retrench and focus the implementation on a model cell. If you’re just getting started with an LMS, consider these points carefully as you plan a new “way we do”! Please share in the comments below any helpful strategies you have seen or used when implementing a Lean Management System.

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Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit

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