Quint Studer is a former hospital CEO who I've mentioned a lot here. He has an outstanding blog now. In his issues, he doesn't talk about “lean” per se, but it absolutely applies, whether you are in healthcare or any organization, I think.
His post talks about financial pressures in healthcare, but it's more about the leadership imperative to be open with your employees about the company's financial situation, so employees can be aware and can be motivated to help fix things. He encourages this as a way of breaking down the “us/they” barrier and getting everyone working together. If you're working on lean, you have to be open with employees about “why” we're doing lean, what the financial pressures are, etc.
Tips for Communicating with Senior Leaders: How to Get Your Message Heard
Again, he's not calling out lean, but this applies to those of us working to get our senior leadership to understand what lean is about.
When a CEO or vice president asks youâ€”as a leader in the organizationâ€”that simple question, “What is going well?”, how do you respond? Before I was a vice president, I used to offer a lot of detail about the steps I was taking and the tools I was using to get results. I wanted leaders to understand I was committed to achieving our goals and I thought this approach helped.
Quint explains why you have to talk more about what you are accomplishing rather than talking about what you are doing.
- Open with results and outcomes. Make sure you can quantify what you achieved. Good effort is no excuse for lack of results.
- Be prepared to explain more. Once a listener has been provided the results, be ready to outline “the how” if asked. This helps the listener know the key steps for success. Great organizations always look for ways to replicate strong results in other departments or take them system wide.
- Show calculations if requested. For example, by lowering the left without being treated from 3% to 1%, 554 patients received care that otherwise would not. With an average collection of $276 (554 x $276 = $152,904) an additional revenue of $152, 904 is generated. (Be careful not to overstate results, however, as you risk your credibility.)
My thoughts: when talking to execs, don't talk first about the lean tools that you used. Talk about how you reduced cycle time, improved delivery response, improved quality, improved safety, reduced cost…. focus on the results and the “why” you're doing lean.
Question: Have any manufacturing folks read his blog or articles? Tell me, do you find it relevant?
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