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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 →

Catalysis Staff Share Reflections from 2021

Posted on by CATALYSIS

As 2021 comes to a close, it is a good time to pause and reflect on events from the year. Reflection is integral to the learning and personal development process. This important part of the PDSA cycle helps us take stock of what went well and what we can improve on in the future.

The Catalysis staff has taken time to share their reflections from working with customers and one another as we continue to transform healthcare. Continue reading →

Top Ten Blog Posts of 2021

Posted on by CATALYSIS

Each week we share blogs in the hopes of inspiring healthcare leaders to accelerate change throughout the healthcare industry. We strive to share knowledge that will help transform organizations to a culture of improvement, delivering continually higher value outcomes for patients, staff, and communities. In 2021 we focused our blog content on building and strengthening management systems, developing problem-solving skills, remaining dedicated to the principles of organizational excellence as the foundation of culture, and how leader behaviors impact organizational culture. Continue reading →

Why We Need Failure

This past weekend my 8-year-old son had his first basketball tournament of the season. When we arrived all the kids on his team were filled with confidence and ready to play. Their first game was a disaster, they lost 28-2, resulting in frustration and even some tears. The kids were devastated and it was hard to get them pumped up for the next game. Between games I provided words of encouragement and talked with my son about what he learned and what he could do differently in the next game. The good news was that by the next game the boys played better as a team and you could tell they were learning from their defeat.

This experience made me think about expressions we often use at work about failure like “fail fast,” and “celebrate failures.” We use these phrases because failure is an important part of learning and continuous improvement. Here are some reasons that we need failure. Continue reading →

What it Takes to Lead in a Continuous Improvement Environment

Posted on by CATALYSIS

Leading in a continuous improvement environment is very different from the way many healthcare leaders have been taught. It isn’t about having all the answers and fixing every problem. It’s about enabling others to solve problems and helping people connect their work to the work of the system.

It can be challenging for leaders to make this transition and change their own behaviors so they can effectively support the culture transformation. In the book Becoming the Change, by John Toussaint, MD, and Kim Barnas, they introduce a way for leaders to assess their leadership so they can intentionally change specific behaviors. Continue reading →

Five Benefits of a Daily Huddle

Posted on by CATALYSIS

A daily huddle, or improvement huddle as it is sometimes referred to, is an important component to a management system. Huddles provide an outlet for valuable communication that can be escalated and shared throughout the different levels of the organization. We have heard from many organizations that a consistent huddle process and management system enabled them to make decisions quickly and stay connected during the COVID pandemic.

There are numerous benefits of a daily huddle. Here are a few: Continue reading →

Tips for Using Visual Management

Posted on by CATALYSIS

Visual management helps to support culture transformation by turning data into information that can help tell the story about the business. In her book, Beyond Heroes, Kim Barnas acknowledges that the idea of publicly displaying defects is hard for some healthcare leaders to accept but also explains that, “patients and family know our faults and trouble spots already. Our defects are not news to them.” The only way an organization can improve or prevent defects is to be aware of them.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when using visual management to help your team improve and prevent defects. Continue reading →

Questions for Examining Your Executive Management System

Posted on by Kim Barnas

Recently, I have had several leaders talk with me about how executives connect to the lean management system.  This gap in understanding gave me pause and created an opportunity to think about how we are presenting systems in our coaching and teaching.  I feel it is important to speak more directly about how the executive management system is a critical aspect of the overall operational excellence journey.

If we are to sustain a culture of improvement we must connect these systems, and understand our role in both systems.  I began my gap analysis by looking at what many of you have done, considering what has worked well and what has been improved.  Each organization I examined looked a little different, but the successful journeys had a similar framework. Continue reading →

What to Do When Implementing Process Observation

Posted on by CATALYSIS

Process observation is an essential part in the improvement process. The purpose is to observe whether a new standard is performing as expected and sustain improvements. This component of the management system is very closely linked to the Shingo Principle “focus on process.”

When you are starting to implement process observation it can be unnerving for team members. They might feel like it is punitive, or that you are “watching” them because they are “in trouble” or doing something wrong. If your team feels this way, it will not foster the kind of culture that is required to sustain continuous improvement or pursue Organizational Excellence.

Here is some advice to keep in mind when implementing process observation:  

Continue reading →

Dos and Don’ts of Leading with Humility

Posted on by CATALYSIS

When you are a leader within an organization your behavior is observed and noticed by everyone. It’s important that you find a way to show confidence without coming across as arrogant. Leading with humility is a foundational Shingo principle that is critical to sustaining a culture of continuous improvement. This way of leading is not always easy and takes mindful practice.

Here are some dos and don’ts to help you focus on demonstrating behaviors of a humble leader. Continue reading →