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How to Have Better Team Huddles

Posted by Maggie Millard

Sep 25, 2018 8:12:00 AM

We recently had a chat with a potential client in a healthcare organization that has been doing daily team huddles for years. She has been frustrated by the lack of tangible results and the apparent disinterest of her team. People show up (unless they can find any reasonable excuse not to), but it is clear that the huddle is just one thing to check off the list each day, rather than a valuable exercise. She asked how to make the practice more useful and here’s what we recommended.

Set a Firm Time Limit

Daily huddle meetings are meant to be extremely focused and quick affairs. If you have the right measurements and technology in place (more on that in a minute), 15 minutes should be sufficient. That means that everyone will need to think ahead about what is important to discuss and stick to the most relevant topics for discussion. Keeping meetings quick makes them less burdensome and allows employees to schedule their day around them.

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Topics: Visual Management, Daily Lean Management, Improvement Process

What Kind of Businesses Need Lean Software?

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Sep 20, 2018 7:45:00 AM

Our standard answer when we get asked, “What kind of businesses need Lean software,” (which happens quite a lot), has always been that businesses in every industry including healthcare, construction, software, engineering, and even higher education benefit from Lean software. And that’s true, but the industry labels tell only part of the story. Lean is industry agnostic, but there are certain business conditions under which Lean software can have an enormous impact. So this post will look at the business attributes that signal an organization stands to make huge gains with Lean technology.

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Topics: Lean, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

What is Lean Healthcare?

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Sep 19, 2018 3:09:00 PM

Lean healthcare is simply the use of the Lean business management philosophy in healthcare facilities. The goal of Lean is to reduce or eliminate waste in every procedure, process, and activity by applying the principals of continuous improvement. When an organization becomes Lean, there is an impact on every team member from operations and administrative staff and even clinicians. Everyone is tasked with identifying ways to eliminate any task or expense that does not add value for patients.

Why are members of the healthcare industry applying a business approach that got its start in manufacturing? According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, national health spending is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.5 percent per year for 2017-26 and to reach $5.7 trillion by 2026. That rate of growth is simply unsustainable under existing conditions. A widespread shift in thinking and a sharp focus on customer value is necessary to keep the already overtaxed system from collapsing under increasing weight.
One change in thinking that is already becoming evident is the focus on growing more customer-centric and developing solutions that increase customer satisfaction while maintaining profitability. That’s where Lean’s focus on eliminating waste comes in. The central question, “Does this provide value for the customer,” is asked by every member of the organization, ensuring organizational alignment and consistent decision making.

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Topics: Lean Healthcare

How Software Enables Lean Leadership

Posted by Maggie Millard

Sep 19, 2018 9:45:00 AM

It’s 2018, and if you haven’t heard, there’s an app for that. We use software to manage almost every aspect of business today from HR to accounting. You’ve got systems for inventory management, sales performance, customer communications, social media monitoring, and even conference room scheduling.

That’s why we are not surprised that more and more organizations are implementing Lean software to support their critical objectives of increasing customer value and reducing waste.

Not only does Lean software make your team more productive at continuous improvement, but it also increases your strength as a Lean leader. Here’s how.

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Topics: Lean, Software, Leadership

How to Craft and Implement a Strategy Deployment Plan

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Sep 14, 2018 8:54:00 AM

One of the most essential responsibilities of leaders is making sure that activities are driven by the strategic goals and objectives of the organization. Strategy deployment, also known as Hoshin Kanri or Policy Deployment is a technique for doing exactly that. The purpose is to ensure clear communications and consistent direction so that everyone is aligned and working toward the most critical breakthrough goals, often called True North. When successful, the strategy, day-to-day tactics, and operations are all in lockstep. The strategic deployment plan also serves as a feedback loop with key performance indicators coming from the bottom up.

Getting the most out of a strategy deployment plan requires preparation and active management. There are four critical stages to consider.

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Topics: Strategy Deployment

The Hidden Costs of Using Excel for Continuous Improvement

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Sep 13, 2018 8:11:00 AM

When we chat with people about how their organizations currently manage improvement work, the two most common answers are “We aren’t,” or “Excel.” We’ve written a lot about why it is essential to have some kind of technology to manage improvement projects. Excel might seem like an attractive option for a couple of reasons.

It’s free. Well, not exactly, but chances are everyone already has access to it.

Everyone knows how to use it. Again, not exactly - I mean, no one knows how to use every Excel feature, but people do know how to use it to make lists.

So why not just stick all of your improvement activities in a spreadsheet and track everything that way? The answer is that although it may seem cheap and easy, using Excel for improvement management could cost you. A lot.

 

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How to Spread the Kaizen Mindset

Posted by Clint Corley

Sep 12, 2018 12:45:00 PM


One of the most significant challenges leaders face when they embrace the Kaizen culture of continuous improvement is getting the philosophy to take hold and become part of the DNA of the organization. We often see small bright spots where Kaizen is clearly working, but other departments or teams that have not yet put continuous improvement to work.

To shed some light on how to spread the Kaizen mindset, we’ve looked to some of the most successful leaders in business.

Here is what they suggest.

Respect and Empower People

Showing respect for people is one of the fundamental principles of Kaizen. Respect fosters improvement by reinforcing for each team member that their input is valued and that management is interested in creating the conditions required for everyone to do their best work.

“People are entitled to joy in their work and a sense of ownership.”

W. Edwards Deming

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Culture

How to Develop a Kaizen Management Style

Posted by Maggie Millard

Sep 6, 2018 8:21:00 AM

It is common that when people are first introduced to the concept of Kaizen, they get excited. The ability to implement small, incremental positive changes on a daily basis is universally appealing. Because respect for people is at the heart of the philosophy, employees quickly get on board as well.

However, what does it actually mean to adopt a Kaizen management style and develop a culture of daily improvement?

Here are a few practical applications of Kaizen management.

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Topics: Kaizen

How to Establish a Foundation for Process Improvement in Healthcare

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Sep 5, 2018 7:43:00 AM

It seems like every other day or so, I come across an article detailing how the American health care system is “broken.” These articles are usually focused on things like escalating costs, rising drug prices, problems with the Affordable Care Act, and other large-scale systemic issues. Finding the billion-dollar idea to solve any of that just isn’t realistic, but healthcare leaders can make a substantial impact on their organizations, improve conditions for employees, and secure better healthcare outcomes for patients by focusing on daily process improvement. Small positive changes might not make headlines, but they can save significant dollars or maybe even lives.

For a culture of improvement to thrive in any healthcare organization, it is necessary to develop a solid foundation by putting the essential principles of process improvement to work.

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How to Get Senior Leaders Excited About Hoshin Kanri Software

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Sep 4, 2018 1:14:34 PM

We find that it is often the people closest to the problem who bring a software solution to the attention of leaders. In many cases, successfully securing the green light to move ahead with a software implementation requires a bit of “selling up.” After all, people who don’t directly feel the pain of a problem are less likely to get excited by the solution.

If you are tasked with deploying the strategic plan or managing improvement projects Hoshin Kanri Software probably seems like a fantastic idea. The challenge is getting everyone else to buy in.

We’ve got good news.

When presented with all of the essential information about Hoshin Kanri software, executives quickly recognize its value more often than not. Here’s an excellent approach to introducing the idea and getting the resources your implementation will need.

For more help getting the green light, download this free software comparison matrix.


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Topics: Hoshin Kanri, Software

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