<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=749646578535459&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

Subscribe

Maggie Millard

As the Director of Marketing, Maggie educates the continuous improvement community, KaiNexus customers, executives, managers, and staff in just about every industry you can think of about improvement principles and KaiNexus' continuous improvement software. Her desire to improve the American healthcare system combined with a love of spreading knowledge to the far reaches of the internet inspires her work with KaiNexus every day. Maggie graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2010 with a BA in History. She spends her free time hanging out with her sweet, sticky, stinky new baby and two displaced dogs in the mountains of Virginia.
Find me on:

Recent Posts

Should Lean Tools Be Used for Every Improvement?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Oct 14, 2019 10:11:31 AM


When I first saw this tweet from our resident Lean and Six Sigma expert and author, Mark Graban, I thought that he made an excellent point. Sometimes we get caught up in all of the sophisticated improvement tools at our disposal like value stream maps, Kaizen events, A3s, heck, even continuous improvement software that we fail to make or adequately recognize small improvements that don’t require tools.

But when I reread it, I was struck by the line, “This small improvement didn’t require a belt, root cause analysis, or a project champion.” Nope. Recognizing that the speakers were not in the ideal location and finding a way to solve that problem didn’t require any fancy techniques at all.

But what did it require? There are some prerequisites that are necessary to make even a simple improvement like this one possible.

Read More

Topics: Lean, Improvement Culture

10 Leadership Behaviors that Promote Operational Excellence

Posted by Maggie Millard

Sep 25, 2019 10:42:50 AM

Operational excellence happens when an organization consistently and reliably outperforms the competition through constant improvement and a dedication to customer value. When two companies have the same strategy, the operationally excellent company will have higher revenues, lower cost, and less risk. This type of execution is only possible with a combination of outstanding leadership and a culture that supports problem-solving and transparency.

Read More

Topics: Leadership, Operational Excellence

Kaizen and the Art of Kintsugi: Redefining Perfection

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 21, 2019 1:05:48 PM

As regular readers of this blog know, many of the ideas and practices that guide the modern continuous improvement movement have their origins in Japanese philosophy and culture. Today’s leaders talk about kaizen (improvement), hoshin kanri (direction setting), and kanban (visual management) regularly. Recently, while scrolling through my Instagram feed of all things, I was struck by another Japanese concept that deserves some thought in the business context as well – the art of Kintsugi.

Kintsugi which translates to “golden journey” and is also known as Kintsukurio (golden repair) is the art of repairing broken pottery by joining the broken pieces with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. No attempt is made to hide the repair; in fact, the technique highlights it. The repair becomes part of the history of the object. The object is not beautiful despite the fact that it was broken, it is more beautiful because it was broken.

Read More

Topics: Daily Improvement, Kaizen

The Motivation-Hygiene Theory of Employee Engagement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 15, 2019 8:54:35 AM

It is relatively common for people to use the terms “employee engagement,” and “employee satisfaction,” interchangeably, although we have never been comfortable with that framing, especially when it comes to software. Tools like employee NPS and employee pulse surveys do an excellent job of measuring employee satisfaction, but they don’t have features likely to increase employee engagement. Understanding the difference can help organizations that want to attract, retain, and develop talent find the tools that can help them do so.

Read More

Topics: Employee Engagement

French Fries and the Culture Imperative

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 8, 2019 8:32:00 AM

“Culture isn’t just on aspect of the game – it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.” Lou Gerstner Jr. – IBM.

These days it is a little bit embarrassing to admit that I eat fast food from time to time, but there you have it. I like French fries, and I cannot lie. And as everyone knows, McDonald's French fries are objectively the best. One of the founding principles of McDonald’s was that the food would taste the same no matter which location you visit. I’d say they have generally achieved this aim even though most locations are franchises run by hundreds of different owners across the country.

But while the food is relatively consistent, the quality of customer service is not. The employees from one McDonalds to another are paid about the same. The employees come from the same labor market. The functional job requirements are the same. So why do some locations operate efficiently with friendly and engaged employees, while others have workers who are indifferent?

Read More

Topics: Improvement Culture, Operational Excellence

How’s Your Lean Software Implementation Working Out?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 23, 2019 3:35:55 PM

We’re not going to lie. Implementing any kind of software solution in an organization is not easy. First, you must make sure you select a solution that will actually help address whatever challenge is at hand. Then you have to get it implemented and work out the kinks (there are always kinks). You have to get users trained, and then you face the biggest hurdle of them all – getting people to use the system. Sometimes it all goes smoothly, but challenges are not uncommon.

If you’ve implemented Lean software, you’ve probably faced a few. This post will help you access whether your Lean technology has taken root and give you some ideas for boosting adoption if that’s what’s needed.

Read More

Topics: Lean, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

5 Pillars of an Effective Employee Engagement Strategy

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 17, 2019 12:42:47 PM

When we sit down with a prospective client, we find it is very important to understand the challenges the organization is facing and their long-term goals before we start talking about our solution. One of the themes that come up, again and again, is employee engagement, or lack thereof. What we often find is that leaders and managers implement all sorts of employee engagement activities, but they rarely have a well-crafted, cohesive plan for maximizing the human potential of their workforce. Our clients who have done it successfully have found five key elements that are essential to an effective approach.

Read More

Topics: Employee Engagement, Employee Recognition

More Brilliantly Simple Continuous Improvement Techniques

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 4, 2019 2:35:56 PM

A while back, we wrote about some continuous quality improvement techniques that we love because they are easy but powerful. One of the most important realizations that people have, when they start to build an organization focused on excellence and constant improvement, is that the path is not complicated. It’s really all about getting the little things right and providing people with a structured way to think about incremental operational change. The original post contained some of our favorite tools. This one has a few more.

Read More

Topics: Daily Improvement, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

Problem Solving at Cleveland Clinic

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 14, 2019 1:07:15 PM

I'm well into day two of the Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit in Washington D.C., and while there are 8 breakout sessions to choose from right now, I came back to the coldest room in the hotel for more Cleveland Clinic. You can check out what I learned about their tiered huddles in yesterday's session here

(Side note: Why are conference meeting rooms so cold? Are the hotels trying to keep people awake? Sedate us? I'll never know.)

I must not be the only one who can't get enough of this organization, because at this moment we're 15 minutes from the start of the session and it's already standing room only. Today's Cleveland Clinic presentation is led by Melissa Vandergriff, the CI Program Manager.

Read More

Tiered Daily Huddles at Cleveland Clinic

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 13, 2019 12:30:50 PM

I'm eagerly awaiting the start of a presentation by Cinnamon Dixon, the Director of Continuous Improvement at Cleveland Clinic, about their visual management process. I was talking with a Catalysis consultant this morning at breakfast who was telling me about the tiered huddle system at Cleveland Clinic, so I'm super excited to learn more about it.

Ok, here we go.



Dixon started out the session by asking us to pretend we're a president at a hospital preparing for our annual review. You look at your report of operational metrics. You see that over the last 30 days, your falls have increased significantly. Later, you see that the number of violent incident in the ED have also gone up. This leads you to wonder how your caregivers are doing. You see that your volume is down, too, and you realize that this is a good time to focus on employees to make sure you're running an efficient organization - but you see that that didn't happen. You notice all of this as you're walking into a meeting - but why didn't you know that sooner?

You lacked the visibility you needed to pay attention and make better decisions.

How does Cleveland Clinic manage to engage 66,000 caregivers every single day? How do they get that visibility?

Tiered Huddles.

Here's how the Cleveland Clinic tiers are set up, with vital information flowing up and down throughout the organization in a structured, consistent way.

Read More

Recent Posts