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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

10 Leadership Mistakes that Undermine Improvement Efforts

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 12, 2020 8:30:00 AM

Leaders that we speak with get very excited about the idea of creating an improvement engine within their organizations. Who doesn’t want a team of players always looking to edge closer to perfection? Of course, achieving this goal is harder than it sounds.

We’ve found that leaders who struggle to create a culture that thrives on improvement make one or more of ten common mistakes. These challenges are probably not breaking news if you’ve been a leader for a long time, but it can’t hurt to check in with yourself from time to time and make sure you are avoiding these behaviors. If you are a new leader, this is an excellent “don’t” list.

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Topics: Leadership, Spread Continuous Improvement

The Principles of High Reliability Organizations are On Display During COVID-19

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 17, 2020 12:00:00 PM

Because so many of our clients and employees are current or former healthcare professionals, a lot of our attention has been on the impact of COVID-19 on our nation’s hospitals. Hospitals belong to the class of organizations called High Reliability Organizations or HROs. (Nuclear energy facilities, airlines, and certain military operations are also on that list.)

When something goes wrong at an HRO, the consequences can be disastrous. Fortunately, they succeed far more often than they fail. That’s because they practice five driving principles that inform every decision and permeate the culture.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve noticed the application of these principles outside of organizations usually considered HROs. Individuals and organizations are applying them, probably unknowingly, to deal with an extraordinary situation and uncertain times.

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How to Keep a Remote Workforce Engaged in Improvement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 6, 2020 3:00:00 PM

Before I start this post on how to keep a workforce that has suddenly moved to a remote model due to the coronavirus engaged and motivated, I want to begin by acknowledging those workers who can't do their job from home.

Without the hospital staff, grocery store workers, pharmacists, first responders, delivery drivers, utility workers, assisted living employees, and countless others in our communities, this situation would be even worse than it is.

We see you. We thank you.

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Topics: Collaboration, Improvement Process

How Schools Are Sparking Joy in Times of Crisis

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 19, 2020 5:45:42 PM

When every day feels like this nightmare we’ve found ourselves in has gotten worse, and there’s no end in sight, it’s hard to remember to look for the bright spots. In times of crisis, though, we must remember to - in the words of Mr. Rogers - “look for the helpers.”

All over my community, and I’m sure yours, people are coming together to make sure everyone is fed, that local businesses will be able to weather this storm, and that we’ll all make it through to the other side in one piece.

Here’s an example of “the helpers” that brings me to tears every day when I see it.

In my city, enough of the students NEED free breakfast and lunch that the entire school system just gives it to everyone. When schools around the country started closing in response to COVID-19 last week, my Facebook feed was suddenly full of panicked posts from local friends worrying about how the kids in our city would be fed.

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Bonus Insights You Get from Digital Continuous Improvement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 13, 2020 10:00:00 AM

When we chat with people about making the switch to digital continuous improvement, many of the benefits are immediately apparent. People know that using software with workflow capabilities to manage projects is a much better option than using spreadsheets and email. They sense that having a platform designed for the purpose will streamline work and get individual projects across the finish line more often.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Leadership, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

What if Your Team Isn't Finding New Opportunities for Improvement?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Feb 11, 2020 7:15:00 AM

The topic of this blog is a question that we get quite often. Teams will implement a continuous improvement program with much enthusiasm and tons of activity, but over time, the momentum slows, and new opportunities for improvement come less and less frequently. If you are in this boat, you are definitely not alone.

Because so many folks have experienced and talked to us about this, we have some advice.

Let's start with two things not to do.

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Topics: Improvement Process

7 Proactive Ways to Improve Workplace Culture and Engagement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 28, 2020 3:27:46 PM

While it is a little dated, The Deloitte University Press Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report has probably the most useful definition of culture and engagement that we’ve seen. The report notes that “Culture describes the way things work around here, while engagement describes how people feel about the way things work around here.”

That simple statement explains why a Dennison Consulting study found that organizations with thriving cultures have a 72% higher engagement rate than those without.

What’s shocking, given that 85% of the 7,000 plus executives Deloitte surveyed ranked engagement as a top priority, is that fewer than one in three executives reported that they understand their organizations’ culture.

If you want to move the lever on engagement, you must address culture, but how?

Here are seven things that leaders can do to start changing “the way things work around here.”

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Topics: Improvement Culture, Operational Excellence

What if There Was a Red Carpet for Positive Change?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 21, 2020 11:02:21 AM

It’s that time of year when all of the celebrities get dressed to the nines and viewers at home sit back and root for the movies, shows, and stars they love best. Hollywood enjoys its season of recognizing the outstanding work of the past year and acknowledging the contributions of people who aren’t always in front of the camera.

That got us thinking. If Hollywood can congratulate itself, why can’t there be a pause to show appreciation for everyone in our organizations who helped to make 2019 a little bit better? If there were a red carpet for positive change, what awards should be presented?

Here’s what we came up with.

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Employee Engagement Ideas to Try in the New Year

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 16, 2020 8:00:00 AM

It’s hard to believe that 2020 is upon us already. The turn of the year is a time when business leaders and managers tend to reflect on the past twelve months and think about what could be even better in the months to come. It’s normal to focus on the financial metrics and goals, but the level of employee engagement should not be overlooked as you start to map out 2020.

Why?

According to one study, in the U.S, disengaged employees cost organizations around $450-550 billion each year. That costly disengagement is widespread. According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the Global Workplace, only 15 percent of employees are engaged in the workplace. Yep. 85% of workers are doing only what it takes to get through work each day. On the other hand, that same study showed that organizations with highly engaged employees are 21% more profitable.

The good news is that improving employee engagement isn’t impossible or even expensive. There are simple things you can do to shift your culture toward a more emotionally invested workforce. Here are some things to consider trying in 2020.

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Topics: Employee Engagement

Leadership Techniques for Overcoming Resistance to Change

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 26, 2019 11:12:00 AM

People like to joke that the only things that never change are death and taxes, but that's just not true. If it were, you would never hear things like, "That's just the way we've always done it," and, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Not changing, even if the current situation is rife with workarounds and rework, is more comfortable and less risky than trying something new, so it's no wonder that people push back when leaders try to shake things up.

But if you're reading this blog, you likely know that change is a vital business imperative. Overcoming your team's natural resistance to change isn't impossible, but it takes intention and effort. Here are some of the techniques that our customers have found work well.

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Topics: Leadership, Improvement Culture, Improvement Process

Recent Posts