Monday, September 12, 2011

Constancy of Purpose

The Leader's Focus on Constancy of Purpose

Creating constancy of purpose towards improving work product and service levels is the basis of continual improvement.  This enables us to be competitive and to grow in a very tough healthcare market where patients and reimbursements are declining. Ultimately, this allows us to stay in business and to provide jobs.

This constancy of purpose is focused on the customer. Who are your customers?  Internal as well as external?  Who are your passing your work product to? What do they want?  What specifically are their needs and expectations?   How well are you serving them?  Are you just meeting minimum expectations and someone else's benchmarks or are you thrilling them? How do you know?

Constancy of purpose requires leaders to address:
  • philosophy and policy
  • core values
  • long term strategic course

    In the previous blog entry, I discussed the philosophy at the core of people development, supported by an appropriate management system that empowers the workforce to effectively employ technical tools of work efficiency and process improvement.  It is our role as leaders to reinforce this cultural transformation in the workers perception of their work roles, to create structures for empowered workers to be accountable and successful, to communicate, support, reward and model this culture of engaged workers, helping to identify and resolve defects and eliminate waste. Leaders must be engaged and lead from "the shop floor" to use the manufacturing analogy. It is from this perspective that opportunities for improvement become evident daily, at a very granular level. This leader engagement is more than just taking a walk-around to ask how things are going. 

    What To Do

    "Doing your best is not good enough. You have to know what to doThen do your best."
    -W. Edwards Deming

    As a leader, knowing what to do is the part each of you and your workers own in your area of expertise. That requires constant attention to refining what you do to be better, continually. For that you need a structure that provides accountability by defined teams for continual identification and correction of defective work and work processes in the workplace and at individual workstations where this occurs with on-going measures of how well you are performing. I will address the specifics of these topics with "how to" examples subsequently in this Lean Leaders Guerrilla Handbook series.


    W. Edwards Deming: Out of the Crisis. MIT Press 2000.


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