During this year’s KaiNexus User Conference, we brought together some of the best and brightest continuous improvement professionals representing organizations that have decided to invest in building a culture of improvement. We were absolutely thrilled to have so many of our customers in one place, talking about their continuous improvement efforts, learning about new KaiNexus features, and exchanging ideas and best practices with people from a variety of industries.
On Friday, we gave an overview of our favorite 2.0 features and gave a sneak peak into the upcoming 2.1 features. We also had an open session in which people could walk around and talk to our team about those new features, see them up close, and play with configurations - it was pretty cool, if I do say so myself!
The rest of the conference was filled with presentations and panels made up of our team and some of our awesome customers. Check out these highlights.
The Power of Intrinsic Motivation in Continuous Improvement
Mark Graban, our VP of Improvement & Innovation Services, gave a fascinating talk about intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by internal rewards, while extrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by external rewards such as money, recognition, and praise. Typically, these motivations are thought of only in relation to an individual, but Mark proposed that they also apply to the organizational mindset!
A ton of people talked about using KaiNexus to manage their day-to-day Improvement efforts.
When people first start using improvement software such as KaiNexus, they often worry that they will have to do a ton of extra work with little reward. Linda Vicaro from St. Clair Hospital made the point that you need to make KaiNexus a tool that enables people to do their work, rather than making it an extra step that just adds to their workload. KaiNexus should, after all, make people’s lives easier, not more complicated.
We’ve talked for years about how continuous improvement software can support Gemba Walks - preventing the loss of ideas, ensuring follow-up, calculating ROI, increasing visibility, and increasing employee engagement. One of our customers, Matthew Cannistraro from JC Cannistraro backed up those claims with some stories of his own!
Another key takeaway on bottom-up improvement came from a construction company whose employees operate in the field. Entering their ideas gives field workers the ability to document the problem and possible improvements, but also allows leadership to share the solution and break a seemingly unique job into small, repeatable steps. “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good” is their mantra, and it has clearly worked towards sustainment efforts.
Often, when people first think of using improvement software like KaiNexus, they imagine using it primarily to drive their bottom-up improvement efforts, not realizing its uses for top-down improvement. Chris Luckett from the Kettering Health Network described his organization’s transition from primarily bottom-up to top-down work, explaining how he was able to shift have people were using KaiNexus to leverage the platform to facilitate that change in focus.
Once people have been using KaiNexus for a short time, they often pick up on its top-down capabilities. For example, Patty Kallal from Texas Health Resources told us about her 100 Day Workouts that she supports in KaiNexus. She’s able to decrease the administrative burden on running such cumbersome projects, making it easier both for her to manage the projects and for participants to take part.
When your organization is large or far spread, it can be difficult to manage strategic deployment. Kristin Bentz from Lee Health described her own experience with using KaiNexus to facilitate this strategy. Lee Health has 750 leaders across 11,000 organizations who are all kept aligned with the organization’s goals, with the help of KaiNexus.
Reinforcing the help chain
Linda Vicaro also made the point that for large organizations with comparatively small Lean and continuous improvement teams, leaders can maximize their efficiency by effectively training employees at many of the levels of the organization and empowering those employees to support each other, therefore acting as an extension of the Lean coaches.
Training your staff to use KaiNexus
Pretty much every organization has some form of orientation for their new hires where they learn about the organization as a whole and about their own responsibilities in detail. LeaAnn Teague from Our Lady of the Lake and Allison Overley from GE Healthcare brought up an interesting idea - formalizing training in KaiNexus during that orientation process. That way, every new employee learned how and when to use the system, making sure that they understood the importance of continuous improvement and were prepared to act on any opportunities for improvement that they saw.
The last thing I want to discuss is Jamie Flinchbaugh’s inspiring talk about what it means to be a good leader. He discussed the importance of knowing what kind of leader you want to be and of developing a system in order to achieve that goal.
Also important, Jamie said, is the understanding that leadership is based on frequency. A good leader needs to make decisions and take actions at a frequency and offer recognition at a frequency. In other words, you need to have discipline and keep a certain cadence to establish yourself as a leader.
Stay tuned for details about signing up for next year’s conference - we’d LOVE to see you there!