Dr. W. Edwards Deming recognized the importance of involving employees in improving quality and sustaining a high level of performance. His System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK), has four critical elements for leadership to understand:
- Processes that make up a system,
- How to test theories on how to change the system,
- The nature of variation, and
Put in terms of transformation and quality improvement, it is incumbent upon leaders to create a shared vision for the practice’s direction. These “broad brush strokes” need to be painted in an effort to align staff behind a purpose and cause. Practice leaders then need to connect the front line staff in as many ways as possible to the broader purpose and mission. At that point, leaders should encourage a supportive environment where all staff members are encouraged to share thoughts about daily processes and transformation. This focus on involvement at all levels can bring with it new energies and appetite for change. A parallel beneficial outcome is the immediate impact that staff will experience with increased joy at work and improved satisfaction. Staff members who can see how their efforts and ideas are considered seriously and implemented are more likely to bring positive energies, emotions and happiness to their everyday tasks. This positive energy will translate into better patient outcomes.
Questions for leaders include:
- Does your practice have a vision statement? If so, can your staff and other provides articulate it?
- Does your practice have a mission statement? If so, can your staff and other providers articulate it?
- Do you have regular meetings where outcomes are discussed and shared with staff and other providers?
- Do you solicit ideas about how to improve the current processes and thus outcomes?
- Do you celebrate success with staff?
- Do you celebrate ideas generated from staff?
- Can you identify future leaders from staff that have shown passion in transformation and improvement?
- Have you provided educational resources to staff to further their own understanding of the transformation that is required?