The Politics of Continuous Improvement

The other day I came across a post on LinkedIn that stated, “Lean Crushing Six Sigma as the New Dominant Force in Corporate Continuous Improvement.”  It pointed to a survey done by the Avery Point Group which found that Lean talent demand was outpacing Six Sigma talent demand.  I was also enlightened about the animosity that appears to exist between the systems thinking advocates of John Seddon and the lean advocates of the Lean Enterprise Institute.

All of this has me thinking – when did we start the competition about which improvement methodology is the best?  Why do we want to waste our time arguing over which methodology is the best (sometimes to an all too personal level)?  Isn’t the purpose of these approaches to establish an on-going system of Continuous Improvement?  Whether it’s Lean, Six Sigma, Systems Thinking, Theory of Constraints, or something else – if the organization can establish a continuous improvement mindset, does the methodology used really matter? Continue reading


Do People Really Resist Change?

People always resist change.

This must be true if you listen to the “experts” when it comes to organizations implementing new ideas, approaches, programs, etc..  And these organizations can be anything from the place you work to your local rotary club and all things in-between.

It seems that whenever a new program is attempted to be implemented, and it falls short of expectations, that the leaders who were charged with the implementation write off the failure to the conventional wisdom that people just resist change.

But is that really true?  Continue reading

Physician Practice Consolidation, Patients, and Process

Healthcare systems appear to be on a late night binge lately, gobbling up Physician practices as fast as they can.  It all seems to be part of their “Physician Growth Strategy” – otherwise known as “rather than entice physicians to practice at my system by providing exceptional service and patient care, I’ll just buy them out, make them employees, and structure their contracts so it is to their benefit to send the patients to me.”  Well, whatever the reason it’s happening a lot.

Mark Carter recently wrote about his experience with his newly acquired physician on his Healthcare Strategy blog.  His physician stated the usual reasons for being bought out – increased back office efficiency, electronic medical records, help with contracting, etc.  Not mentioned, but probably a major driving factor was income stability – a salary not dependent upon patient mix (that was now the Healthcare Systems problem).  [Click here for the entire article]

While this was all good for the physician, what about for the patient? Continue reading