Posted March 20, 2018

COACHING MINUTE: Improvement Systems Require Effective Leadership

By Clay Linkous, MBA, FACHE, CSSBB

As healthcare organizations continue to face an external environment that demands higher quality at a lower cost, many are beginning to rely on process improvement methodologies like Lean or the Shingo Model to help them eliminate waste and reduce variation. While these methodologies are evidence-based and have a rich history of improving outcomes in other industries, rarely do we see healthcare organizations realizing the full benefit of these systems in their organizations.

Many times, the inability to achieve desired improvements is due to a lack of alignment, accountability or action. In other words, you cannot have an effective improvement system unless you have an effective leadership system.

I have had the privilege over the last few years to coach a large health system that understands and embraces this principle. This health system has experienced some of the best outcomes I have seen to date from their Lean-based improvement system because they built this system in tandem with Studer Group’s Evidence-Based LeadershipSM system.

The leadership system ensures that the goals of all facilities and leaders are aligned and that those leaders receive the development and skill-building they need to be successful. It also ensures leaders are held accountable to use their Lean-based improvement system to achieve improved outcomes. Because of this integrated strategy that includes coordination of a leadership system AND an improvement system, this organization continues to deliver higher quality care at a lower cost.

Maybe your own organization is struggling to see desired outcomes from its improvement system (Lean/Shingo Model). If you aren’t seeing the results you had hoped for, look at the leadership system in your organization. If that piece is lacking or even nonexistent, you may have found your answer.

Clay Linkous has a passion for leadership development and operational excellence that has helps him consistently achieve success. He is known for expertly leading Studer Group coaching partnerships in academic medical centers, large regional health systems and national health systems.


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