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Webinar Preview: How to Leverage Lean for Long-Term Success

Posted by Delancey Padmos

Aug 4, 2017 6:03:00 AM

There are lots of reasons to subscribe to the KaiNexus blog, but one of the best ones is that you get a heads up about all upcoming webinars. Today I'm excited to announce that on August 10, we'll be hearing from Warren Stokes of Honor Health about How to Leverage Lean for Long-Term Success Under Short-Term Pressures.

Sounds like a topic that resonates in every industry, right?

Warren Stokes is the Director of Process Improvement at Honor Health, a five-hospital integrated system of care primarily in Phoenix and Scottsdale Arizona. Stokes has been working in Lean healthcare for the past few years, after first being introduced to Lean and continuous improvement in aerospace before that.

Mark Graban, our VP of Improvement and Innovation Services, kicked off the preview interview with Stokes by asking how he defines long-term success.

For Stokes, success is all about sustainability.

"Long-term success around continuous improvement would look like a full operating system that's sustainable, that... provides the core and spirit for an organization in which 100% of its stakeholders are committed to continue improving and moving forward on both incremental improvements and strategic innovation," he said.

Listen to the Interview and Subscribe to the Podcast:

Sustainability isn't just about preserving the status quo for Stokes; instead, it's about constantly improving the value that the company provides to its customers. As he describes it, "Sustainability isn't just saying 'we're here,' but rather, a sustaining improvement spirit."

In short, sustainability is about thriving, rather than just survival.

How to Leverage Lean for Long-Term Success (Under Short-Term Pressures)

August 10 from 1:00 - 2:00 pm ET

Register Now


In this webinar, you'll learn:

  • How to leverage the intellectual capital and experience of your frontline employees first
  • To not overcomplicate your Lean improvement with too much of the scientific and not enough of the practical
  • Why it’s important to build trust and support for continuous improvement
  • How Lean best fits into a larger, long-term continuous improvement strategy in a way that avoids succumbing to short-term pressures
  • How leadership and a Lean team can create and empower laser-focused energy

Next, Graban asked Stokes "What are some of the short-term pressures that health care organizations face these days?"

Stokes describes two types of pressures that exist for companies in any industry: internal and external ones.

For him, the external pressures are largely economic conditions. These aren't bad things, because they serve to open new opportunities in the market for the organization through changes what the customer values and supply and demand from an economic standpoint. Healthcare is no different than other industries in that regard.

Internal pressures are also focused on economic conditions that influence not only how the organization meets market demands, but also how they deal with problems in the short-term. "We all witness cyclical pressures on an annual basis. When it comes time to look at the final quarter of the year, we look at gaps in the budget to see where we're on target and where we're not, and what we need to do to shore those gaps up. One of those pressures is a fiscal pressure, which we usually see translated into cost reduction efforts that are needed to quickly to achieve bottom-line results. You see that in the form of travel being pulled back, more stringent controls around ordering supplies, and unfortunately, occasionally a reduction in force" said Stokes.

In the webinar on August 10, Stokes will talk about how to keep those short-term pressures from getting in the way of the long-term progress you need to make.

One piece of that is accepting the reality of these short-term pressures. This is done in part by evaluating the long-term strategic plan frequently to see if you're on track throughout the year so that you can respond accordingly (and less dramatically), but we know today that there is the reality of the short-term pressures no matter how much you evaluate and adjust. The key is to approach this from a standpoint of leveraging your current continuous improvement efforts and mindset even in the short-term.

A lot of people view a long-term investment in continuous improvement and short-term problem solving as mutually exclusive, with constant juggling back and forth between the two because they're viewed as binary. In this webinar, Stokes will talk about things that will prepare us better and add to a more effective overall strategy leveraging efforts in the short-term that reinforce and add to the long-term strategy, while building trust and confidence in the improvement strategy for front line stakeholders and leaders.

That's it for now - be sure to register for the webinar to learn more! 

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