Consider huddles, making the invisible visible and take a gemba walk

leadership huddles gemba

I am a lean leader and always willing to share my learnings. I’ve written several blog posts chronicling my lean experience at different organizations. Some of them have been quite popular with readers. I’ll call them my “lean classics.” Here’s a recap for your reference.

Huddles and Visual Management:

Leadership huddles: not just another meeting – describes my first IT leadership huddle launch back at University of Michigan Health System. As my lean coach said at the time, be willing to experiment, it doesn’t have to be perfect. We learned and tweaked it as we went through the PDCA cycle.

Making the invisible visible – describes the beginning stages of the visual board our IT leadership team created at University Hospitals in Cleveland.

Making the invisible visible – part 2 – describes that same effort several months after we launched it and how we used it as a team.

6 tips for successful huddle boards – based on experience, my advice to those considering their own huddle boards. Remember, you need to be willing to experiment.

Gemba Walks:

Importance of rounding or going to the “gemba” – describes early experience with clinical and operational rounding both at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and University of Michigan Health System.

Go to the gemba, seek to learn – describes my experience when all hospital leaders at University of Michigan Health System were asked to do three gemba walks in different areas. Go see, ask questions, and show respect was the mantra – it’s not management by walking around, it is seeking to learn.

I’m currently serving as interim CIO at Stony Brook Medicine in New York. As part of National Nurses Week, May 1-5, our Chief Nursing Officer has asked all the executives to participate in the Division of Nursing’s “Walk in My Shoes." We’ve been asked to provide a 4-hour block sometime that week. We will be assigned to a unit and a shift where we will be spending the time with a nurse.

It’s very “gemba.” As the IT leader, I will be able to see firsthand how nurses use our systems. Our CNO and her nursing leaders will be looking for us “walkers” to give feedback on how to do things differently and how to apply lean thinking. It will help sensitize us to the work that nurses do: the complexity, the detail orientation, the skills and compassion needed, and the importance of nurse-physician communication.

Finding an available 4-hour block on calendars filled with meetings can be a challenge, but that’s what lean leaders do. I’m looking forward to my “walk”.

You can take it to the bank that there will be a new blog post coming out of this experience!

This post was first published on Sue Schade's Health IT Connect blog.

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