Daily Archives: March 20, 2008

Disgruntled Employees In A Lean Hospital

Management loves Lean transformations, why don’t workers on the line?

I just read Jon Miller ‘s great post Improving Healthcare Delivery by Studying Toyota where he discusses the Seattle PI article To build a better hospital, Virginia Mason takes lessons from Toyota plants.  His article is fascinating and informative.

I found a gem in the Reader Comments for the article on the P.I. website.  Check them out and come back and read the rest of my post.  See any commenters from Virginia Mason who seem burned by Lean?  I saw quite a few.

While accepting change is ultimately up to the individual, I think Lean practitioners should do everything possible to help them with the process.  Management and Lean facilitators can easily write off a person who doesn’t embrace Lean as not being a team player.  We need take the harder path and communicate to people on their level.

  • Train your workshop teams to have two way communication when they implement improvements. 
  • Ensure the team engages the staff to understand their needs before they design the process(es). 
  • Help the team avoid being so dogmatic about their change(s) that they do not believe the CHECK step is needed from the PDCA cycle.
  • Work with the managers of openly Lean-hostile employees to reach common ground.
  • Always communicate (and practice) your organization’s “respect for people” pillar.

Some people will resist change no matter what you try.  Just don’t fall into the trap of writing someone off before you exhasted everything to communicate to people.

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