Saturday, 31 July 2010

Lean Healthcare Executive Materclass

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, one of the biggest wastes we see in the NHS is executive teams implementing countermeasures to problems before accurately defining what exactly the problem is.

This behaviour is both dangerous and fraught with risk. As opposed to improving services, this behaviour actually makes thing worse. For example, we have learnt that chasing financial targets will actually make financial performance worse.

A bi-product of this behaviour is the distraction it causes, consuming the organisation’s precious resources and preventing them from doing the right things.

Unless a problem (or set of problems) is accurately defined, the effectiveness of any solution is at the very least debatable.

It is easy to declare victory in this world of not really understanding problems, with an illusion of progress. However the problem will re-emerge having not really been solved.

Any premature leap to solutions (often mistaken for ‘increased pace’) is, in reality, nothing more than tampering.

The management mantra “don't bring me problems bring me solutions” is perilous. This approach directs organisations rapidly to the above issues. Additionally staff in the organisation will begin to act in the same way, further reducing the organisations' ability to solve its own problems.

Imagine that instead of pursuing several hundred projects your organisation was able to focus everyone’s’ efforts on the vital few objectives that would make the biggest difference to your performance. Imagine that the top team had identified the size of the performance gaps that need to be closed to meet these objectives.

As a result we have designed, tested and are now offering a Lean Healthcare Executive Materclass.

Problems always come in bundles, some big, some small but all impact upon each other. This masterclass is designed to show executive teams how to un-pick these problems and funnel down to their vital few, biggest problems. The vital few that if resolved will (more or less) resolve the many. The concept of ‘leverage’.

It is not hard to imagine the acceleration in performance that would result from this much more effective use of executive time. We call it ‘Results Driven Lean’, where action is only taken to resolve clearly defined problems with an evidence based plan to achieve measurable results in performance.

It is also significant that the top team sets the example for the rest of the organisation by doing it themselves on their own work, which gives enormous credibility when they ask everyone else to follow their example. It also means they are in a position to mentor the next level down in the disciplines of evidence based planning and problem solving by asking questions to teach them how to think rather than telling them exactly what to do.

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