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Performance Improvement Mistakes, Part 3: Get Leadership Buy-In

Submitted By: Brian MacClaren

How do you define leadership buy-in? Sometimes this means a simple thumbs-up from senior leadership. But is that enough if we aim to be a high performance organization? We like to help organizations move towards leadership engagement, because in the end it’s all about accountability. Leaders must drive any performance improvement program according to the priorities of their business strategy. They need to have a window into what’s going on and the ability to see that the effort is helping them to accomplish their goals. So while it’s good to have leadership buy-in, it’s essential to have leaders engaged. There are quite a few different ways to achieve this within the structure of a performance improvement program.

Obtaining buy-in by senior management at the outset of any healthcare performance improvement, Lean healthcare, or hospital Lean Six Sigma program is not easy. In our view, obtaining leadership engagement means gaining their understanding, commitment and action in support of your goals. Getting beyond simple buy-in is not commonly achieved, and failing to work towards achieving this is a common pitfall for performance improvement programs.

So what can you do to accomplish this? In the healthcare setting, the senior leadership team has many objectives that often pull the organization in different directions. However, it is the proper balance of these objectives that produces a high performance organization. In the end, all share one common goal for success. The individual responsible for a Lean healthcare or hospital Lean Six Sigma program must present a compelling vision of a future that can demonstrate a link between the decision-makers, their collective objectives and the organization’s strategy.

It is very likely that you have developed your objectives in light of known performance problems or your own research. Unfortunately, decision-makers often don’t feel the “pain” of the problem you have identified or don’t associate it with their own strategy execution. The approach that is used must guide the leadership team through the same thought processes and engage them in the decision-making activities.

Leadership buy-in and, ultimately, engagement can be accomplished by implementing a mechanism that keeps leaders regularly involved and accountable for identifying opportunities, prioritizing them, and then following through and completing the associated projects. Indeed, the failure to engage leadership is one of the most often cited reasons for problems with the sustainability of improvements and can very easily threaten to subjugate the long-term viability of the program.

To read more performance improvement mistakes, download the complete white paper here www.novaces.com/healthcare

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