Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Senior management team gets “real” through Gemba Walks

President’s Blog: Rik Ganderton

I meet every week one-on-one with each member of the senior management team to listen, learn and ask questions about hospital issues and challenges and performance. Most of these meetings occur in an office, usually mine.

I want the senior management team to be much more visible in the organization, and to listen, learn and ask questions about hospital performance and challenges. I am changing the format of my weekly meetings from a review in my office to a weekly, structured walkabout.

In the last week of each month I will to do a full review of Quality, Operational Performance, Risk Management and other Personal Business Commitment items, (to be posted soon by the way) which will be office based.

This is a Lean management technique known as a Gemba Walk. It will allow me and members of the senior management team to review and understand key issues such as flow, wait times, quality care, safety, use of resources, continuous improvement efforts, teamwork and more.

Gemba is a Japanese term meaning the real place. These walks will support a better connection between senior management and the front line, or the real place where our patient care and related work is done everyday.

Getting out of the office and meeting with managers and staff on the floors is also in keeping with our growing Lean culture at Rouge Valley Health System.

The senior management team and I expect to learn from you and will contribute to progress in your department or area.
On the Gemba Walks I will rotate through the areas across both sites so that we visit all locations. On each Gemba Walk I want to review where each area is on meeting minimum Lean standards and what the action plans are to get to those minimum standards.

Minimum Lean standards can be demonstrated through visual management, in the form of:
• Process control boards for at least one key process;
• Evidence of Pareto analysis (demonstrating how you weighted issues in order to monitor and problem solve);
• Action plans to drive process improvement;
• Performance control boards that track progress on key metrics. There should be at least one metric for each of the following dimensions: Access, Service Excellence, Financial Sustainment and Team Engagement;
• Evidence that at least one 6S has been conducted in the department in the last 12 months (6S – safety, sort, straighten, shine, standardize, sustain);
• A3 postings, may be a good means to display this evidence.

I look forward to meeting more of you through this process.