Your Team’s Process Improvement Effort is NOT Viewed as Integral to Achieving the Bigger Picture:
I’ve seen multiple organizations present their quality or process improvement functions as integral to improving the patient experience and reducing inefficiencies within the operation. The same leaders will shy away from publicly supporting team efforts and making tough decisions to improve processes that are crippling the organization’s operation because it may ruffle some feathers of influential stakeholders.
Prior to initiating a wave of process improvement teams, use Stakeholder Interviews to gather information on the challenges currently facing the organization’s key processes. Ask about common challenges, key participants in the process, potential impact of resolving the process issues and past process improvement activity. Once you have extracted and summarized common themes from the stakeholder interview process, propose a set of initiatives to your Senior Leadership. Be sure to highlight all the pertinent specifics about the proposed initiatives and link them back to the organizations overall strategy.
There has been a misunderstanding or miscommunication of the team’s scope and purpose:
One example of this pitfall manifesting itself may be that you find yourself sitting in a team meeting and the sponsor, making an unexpected drop-in to listen to the discussion, provides feedback to the team that is directly contrary to the scope or purpose of the team’s initial charter. Instances like this where the team and the sponsor are not aligned on general team direction or goals can present themselves in a team setting and the effects can be damaging to the team’s morale and focus.
Develop a Team Charter with the help of those directly involved in the process. Highlight the problem in a problem statement, set boundaries for the team with a scoping statement, identify key stakeholders and potential team members and develop no more than three key metrics to monitor in order to demonstrate a before and after. Once you have the document complete, schedule a meeting with your team’s executive sponsor to review and validate the initial direction the team has set.
Intensity of support for your effort has waned down the stretch:
Your team has spent a considerable amount of time and effort scoping and defining the process problems and come up with a solid action plan, only to find that executive support in the form of visual, vocal leadership is beginning to decrease.
Implement a regular Gemba Walk with your Executive Sponsor using a standard process to engage the team members, the operational area and the senior-level team in a discussion about what’s working well, what’s not working well and what support the team needs from it’s sponsor t0 make progress.