Quality Progress - June 2015 - 10

PERSPECTIVES BY MANOJ SHARMA AND VARDAYINI SHARMA Discovering the Right Path Before tackling a project, learn about the organization's culture AT NYU'S SPRING 2014 graduation, projects due to the negative experience. organization's needs and communicated to Janet Yellen, chair of the U.S. Federal Experienced staff felt that a meaningful employees in an honest way. Reserve, said: "You won't succeed all the improvement opportunity wasn't selected. time. Finding the right path in life, more "They don't know what they are doing," problem solving and negotiations often than not, involves some missteps." one member said. The narrative had to win over employees. Given these changed to one of complete failure. Every- circumstances, when we started a lean one believed, "It won't work here." project to improve drug packaging and She described the work her colleagues did to limit the impact of the financial crisis: "Some of their efforts didn't work, 2. Use early engagement, inquiry, distribution, we engaged managers and but they didn't give up." The experience Assess the current state frontline staff from the beginning to taught Yellen that a person's response to Before selecting a project, take the orga- explain in an authentic way what we were inevitable setbacks matters as much as nization's pulse. Interact with all levels of doing. We asked simple questions such the balance of victories and defeats. management and staff, get a sense of what as "What problems are you having?" and they do and identify key challenges that "Can you explain this further?" for every- deliver successful projects and nudge an exist. Identify any initiatives launched in one to further understand the problem. organization forward in its improvement the past, the reason for undertaking those journey. Finding the right path involves initiatives, how they were managed and project was meaningful and how the proj- dealing with uncertainty because of an supported, and how different parts of the ect would be done. Employees' feedback organization's unique culture and past organization adapted to the changes. was incorporated in the action plan. In Often, improvement practitioners must We explained why the improvement some ways, you are using inquiry, problem experiences. When things are uncertain, HR professionals often recommend this we lack clear answers. As a result, initial approach in gauging an organization's cul- solving and negotiation. By using this ap- efforts may not work or the team could ture before fully committing to a project. proach in our project, staff members felt easily misstep. Has the organization undertaken similar they were heard, and their problems were projects in the past? How was the experi- understood and considered when develop- inevitable setbacks is key to guiding the ence and outcome? Developing these ing the project and deploying solutions. improvement journey forward. Direct insights before starting work on a lean confrontation, tactics to overwhelm oppo- project helped us craft a better strategy by tation, we discussed the improvement sition, hard-selling solutions or uncompro- addressing three key issues: experience with management and staff In such situations, our response to mising positions often create negativity 1. Address the past bad experience. 3. Frame it right. After implemen- in a realistic manner and highlighted that leads to stonewalling, disengagement At this pharmacy site, past experience was successes and challenges. This helped and painful memories of the improvement negative because of the project's poor im- reframe the narrative from creating some- initiative. In other words: All pain, no gain. plementation, unheard staff concerns and thing that is perfect to steadily improving At a pharmacy within a large hospital users being unable to see credible benefits the service-recognizing the benefits and in a public healthcare system, we found to doing the project. In such situations, challenges in the journey needed over that several improvement projects under- building the initiative's credibility by de- time. taken led to lighting fires in several areas, livering a positive engagement experience which roiled staff. Despite the effort, the from the start, understanding the pace of public hospital, staff had an unfavorable project led to poor results in the annual change an organization can sustain, deliv- attitude toward improvements because they staff survey and no visible improvements. ering observable benefits and addressing seemed uncomfortable with anything new Later, major management intervention staff concerns fairly is important for the and different. "Things have not changed was needed to ameliorate the union staff. adoption to become grass roots. The pur- here in a long time," some said. There are pose of making change must be real and many industries such as public healthcare must flow from an actual situation or the in which the pace of change is slow. Needless to say, management was afraid to pursue more improvement 10 QP * www.qualityprogress.com At another pharmacy site within a large http://www.qualityprogress.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - June 2015

Up Front
LogOn
Expert Answers
Perspectives
Keeping Current
Mr. Pareto Head
What’s Your Next Move?
Like Abilities
Assessing the Landscape
Change in Flow
Quality in the First Person
Career Corner
Statistics Roundtable
Standards Outlook
Special Section
QP Toolbox
QP Reviews
One Good Idea
Back to Basics

Quality Progress - June 2015

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