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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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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.
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Recent Posts

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Real-Time Lessons Learned from John Toussaint at the Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 13, 2019 10:01:49 AM

I'm here at the 2019 Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit in a keynote with John Toussaint, MD, the Executive Chairman of the Board at Catalysis. 

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How to Evaluate Visual Project Management Tools

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 13, 2019 7:42:00 AM

We’ve received a bunch of responses to our recent posts about visual project management. Many of our readers have shared their stories about how moving to visual management has helped them get more projects completed and to better understand the results of their improvement efforts. Other readers have asked questions about what to look for when selecting tools for visual project management. Of course, every organization has different needs, but some capabilities are useful across the board. Here are the features we suggest considering when evaluating visual project management tools.

How Leading Companies are Improving Visual Management

Kanban View

Kanban boards are among the most popular visual project management tools available. Elements of work in progress are presented in columns that represent items yet to be started, work that is underway, and completed tasks. Visualizing work int his way makes it instantly obvious when there are backlogs or bottlenecks. The goal is to improve the flow of work so that there is no waiting and forward progress is maintained.

When looking for project management technology, be sure that there is a customizable Kanban view so that each team can tailor their board to their unique needs. The solution should allow users to drill down into each task for background and more detail.

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Topics: Software, Visual Management

Framed to Fit: Why Managers Endorse Ideas

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 5, 2019 9:43:57 AM

Dr. Ethan Burris is a Professor of Management and the Chevron Centennial Fellow at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also the Director of the Center of Leadership Excellence for the McCombs School. He earned his Ph.D. in Management from Cornell University and has served as a Visiting Scholar at Google and Microsoft. He teaches and consults on topics relating to leadership, managing power and politics, leading groups and teams, and negotiations.

Dr. Burris’ current research focuses on understanding 1) the antecedents and consequences of employees speaking up or staying silent in organizations, 2) leadership behaviors, processes and outcomes, and 3) the effective management of conflict generated by multiple interests and perspectives. In particular, he has investigated how leaders shape employees’ decisions whether to speak up or stay silent and how leaders evaluate those who speak up.

We were pleased to have him join us at our annual user conference in Austin last year. This post is a recap of his presentation; we highly recommend that you watch it to learn more about the science behind which ideas for improvement are more likely to get promoted by managers.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Spread Continuous Improvement, Improvement Process, Operational Excellence

8 Ways Kanban Board Software Changes the Game

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 28, 2019 10:25:09 AM

Kanban boards are excellent visual management tools for tracking work-in-progress, identifying roadblocks, and ensuring a free-flowing value stream. The idea started with inventory cards helping workers at Toyota ensure that the right parts were available just in time. Leaders took the concept and used it to track any type of work, often on a poster or whiteboard. These days, you’ll find them in hospitals, software firms, construction offices, schools, and more.

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Topics: Software, Kanban, Continuous Improvement Software

6 Tips for Crowdsourcing Innovation Ideas

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 23, 2019 7:11:00 AM

When we ask people about innovation, they usually leap to radical breakthroughs like self-driving cars, alternative energy sources, or space colonies. While these things are innovative, the term innovation simply means a change to an established method or idea. Storing your forks closer to the dishwasher is innovation. In companies, incremental changes like optimizing a process, or solving a long-standing problem can be as necessary for success as introducing a new product or selling to a new market.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Innovation Software, Employee Engagement

Enter to Win a Signed Copy of "Measures of Success"

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 20, 2019 1:03:42 PM

Do you want to lead better and improve more? Of course you do!

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