How Akron Children’s Hospital saved millions on construction and improved outcomes with Lean principles

Changing roles

Considine has been involved in six building programs. In many respects, he says he was less involved in this project than any other, adopting a support role that changed as construction went on. He says initially, it was important for him to show confidence that it could be done.

“You know, believing is so important,” he says. “If you believe in something, people know you believe in it. And I believed in it, I really did. So I became a champion at the front end — that this was what to do, and this is why we needed to do it, and we’re going to knock this out of the ballpark. You show that confidence, you show that belief, it works. So being a champion was important.”

He moved from champion to coach, sharing his experience in past builds and empowering people to believe their input was important. Then he became a storyteller, carefully choosing words that relayed a sense of partnership as he solicited donations and talked with the construction crews during the project.

“I mean, they’re investing back into something that touched their lives,” he says. “And you want to bring that emotion to the table. So the storyteller role was very important.”

As the project wound down, Considine says he was a cheerleader, raising their spirits when they hit an unexpected bump in the road and celebrating accomplishments.

“I’ve had the real privilege of being the CEO here at Children’s for 35 years, going on 36 now. I do believe that, through lessons learned along the way, I’ve become a better storyteller,” he says. “I think I know how to provide a vision that is exciting to folks. I think a leader has that responsibility to be a dreamer, to be a visionary.”

Telling stories

Continuous improvement has been a staple under Considine. He says Children’s has transformed itself many times, which has required doing some things that made people uncomfortable — destructive changes, as he calls them. It’s also required that he change as well.

There was a time, he says, when he knew what was going on in every room in the building. Now, with 90 locations, that’s not possible.

“I had to change my mentality about some of the things, but one thing I never have changed is how I want to stay connected to our people,” he says.

To stay connected to his more than 5,000 employees, Considine attends orientation with new employees every two weeks. He talks about the culture, the history of the hospital, the meaningful nature of the work, their role that they have in continuing the legacy and a little about himself.

“I mean, sure I’m the CEO and president of the hospital, but that’s a title. More importantly, I’m Bill Considine,” he says.

Takeaways:

  • Sharing information makes a big impact.
  • Leaders must adapt their roles.
  • Be diligent in finding ways to improve.