Can You Sustain Your Improvements?


Have you ever accomplished a critical objective, declared victory, and moved on only to have the same issue come back to haunt you? We’ve seen this happen in many organizations, and it’s often harder trying to reclaim lost ground. It frustrates our customers and stakeholders; it demoralizes our employees; and it takes valuable resources – financial, time, and human.

We recently attended the What’s Right in Healthcare® conference hosted by Huron and the Studer Group. This topic came up in multiple presentations by multiple speakers, and some of their insights really resonated with us. Here are some of the recommendations we head that help leaders sustain improvements in their organizations:

* You need to connect every person in your organization to the purpose and connect the dots for them with worthwhile work that makes a difference. You need to understand their own “why” that drew them to this particular career or industry.

* Create a culture of accountability rather than “optionality,” but ensure that your employees have the training and other resources to be competent in their roles.

* Re-recruit your high and middle performers, and address the low performers. Everyone knows who they are – even your family because you complain about them. Top performers want to see action taken on low performers.

* You’re the only person who can change how you prioritize your time and your resources. Block time on your calendar for the priority tasks.

* Identify leading indicators for your most important goals to provide focus and demonstrate that your actions are making a difference.

* If the improvement relies on changes in behavior, reinforce the right behavior with personal thank you notes. Coach those who are trying to adopt the new behavior, and confront those who are actively sabotaging the change effort.

* If you want others to embrace coaching, you must be seen as coachable. Do you invite feedback on how well you’re supporting the improvement effort?

* The communication of every change must begin with the why, then the what, and finally the how.

What was the last conference you attended? What actions did you implement when you returned, or did you just bring back good intentions? If you attend the 2019 Baldrige Fall Conference, I guarantee that you’ll hear inspiring stories from Baldrige Award recipients along with lessons learned on their performance excellence journeys. But go there with a commitment to find two or three “nuggets” that will elevate your organization’s performance if you implement them with discipline.

There are opportunities right now to raise your hand to be an examiner for one of the Alliance’s Baldrige-based programs.

Check out these opportunities:

Louisiana Quality Foundation serving Louisiana

MiPEx serving Michigan

Excellence North Alliance, serving New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine

Are you participating in the AHCA/NCAL Quality Award Program? We’re partnering with the Ohio Health Care Association (OHCA) to provide Bronze (September 20) and Silver (September 18 & 19) application writing workshops. Want more information? Contact Kathy Chapman at 614-540-1321 or

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