Let’s go see and ask…

Q: Why are we not getting the results we want?  A: I don’t know, we’d have to go and ask…

Q: What is it that our patients/customers/stakeholders really want?  A: Don’t know for sure, maybe we should ask them directly…

Q: Why does this problem keep coming up?  A: Not sure if anyone knows, we probably need to go see and ask some questions…

I could go on.  We have more problems than we know what do to with in the healthcare sector; and many of the nasty ones keep reoccurring.  Each of you reading this reflection is well aware of these repetitive challenges.

I would also propose that you have lead and/or have been on the receiving end of many a solution under the auspices of improving cost, quality, service, access, outcomes, safety, etc., etc.  And these have not been on a whim; these are typically robust initiatives sponsored by smart, passionate and dedicated health leaders.

So what’s the problem?

I think one the major contributions to the repetitive challenges is that we persist in jumping quickly to brilliant solutions without fully grasping and understanding the root causes that are resiliently sustaining these big gaps between where you are currently standing and where you aspire to be in the future.

I know of only one way in which to truly begin to understand these root causes: leave the email and meetings behind, put on my walking shoes, go see and ask questions of those closest to the work to better understand what’s not working in the processes that they live in each and every day.

Once I begin to understand, I can then start seeking their input and thinking on how best to improve.

From there, ask them to run some rapid PDSA experiments…then ask them to standardize the gains made…then ask them what’s next…

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