In this space, I’ve been sharing a Kaizen tip each month. This month, the tip is to not get hung up on prioritizing and sorting your team’s improvement ideas… if you spread out the workload and get creative, you can get far more ideas implemented.
In my recent blog post, I explained a commonly used method – the “PICK” chart. The assumption is that we have a lot of employee ideas, but we have limited resources to implement them. Therefore, we must prioritize and there’s another assumption – that we can only implement SOME of our ideas.
In a Kaizen culture, data shows that organizations (including in healthcare) can implement 80 to 90% of the submitted ideas (or some version of an idea that might change through collaborative discussion).
One reason we have to prioritize is because the manager is a bottleneck in improvement. There’s another assumption that says the manager has to do everything or be involved deeply in each Kaizen. That’s not always true. Or, the bottleneck has shifted to a key staff member or a Kaizen specialist. Kaizen is for everybody! If we spread out the workload, we don’t have as many bottlenecks and we can focus on testing and evaluating ideas through the implementation cycle instead of just talking and prioritizing.
There’s another assumption that’s bake into PICK charts… some ideas are deemed “high difficulty” so they might be called a Challenge or they might be Kiboshed. Instead of just giving up and parking those ideas forever, leaders in a Kaizen culture will collaborate with their team members to find easier and simpler things to implement. These simpler ideas might not fix the problem completely, but it’s better to have a little improvement instead of none at all.
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