William Considine embraces Lean Six Sigma to improve Akron Children’s Hospital

Celebrate success

If your child needed an MRI two years ago, the waiting list at Akron Children’s was about 25 to 28 days. Through discussion with department employees and dissection of the workload, the hospital was able to add 35 MRI tests a week, dropping the wait time to three days or less.

Considine has heard hundreds of similar stories since implementing Lean Six Sigma. Many of those stories come from A3 project graduations. Once employees finish their eight-week project they share their findings in terms of patient wait time savings, financial savings and hours saved in the workday. Considine, members of his management team and his board attend those graduations.

You need to find an outlet for employees to share their solutions, one that allows them to feel pride in what they’ve accomplished and gives them a sense that their voice has been heard. At the same time, you need to find a way to keep a pulse on what your employees have been able to achieve and document that success.

Considine takes what he hears at the graduation and ties it into his communication with other employees to show and celebrate employee and company achievement.

“It gives you the chance to tell a story,” he says. “When you celebrate, you put a face on it, a face of a fellow worker, a face of a family. It’s genuine. It’s not something that is phony.”

Even though the hospital has a resource center, even though you might have certain employees leading projects, you as the CEO must take full ownership of processes such as Lean Six Sigma. That means you must communicate, motivate and celebrate.

“You’ve got to believe in your people, you’ve got to trust your people, empower them, and you’re going to be blown away when you see what they come back with,” he says. “They’re going to show you improvements that you would never have thought about. They’re going to show you ways to be efficient that the high-stake consultants you could bring in wouldn’t be able to find. You just have to keep celebrating that.”

HOW TO REACH: Akron Children’s Hospital, (800) 262-0333 or www.akronchildrens.org