Talking About Improvement at the Front Lines in the T&G

If you missed Doug Brown’s contribution to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s “As I See It” column this past weekend, it’s worth catching a couple of highlights that affect us as SHARE members. His piece explains to the broader Central Massachusetts community how our hospital is applying “Lean” to patient care, and why.
Doug is President of UMass Memorial Community Hospitals and Chief Administrative Officer. He writes that, “The method employed by ThedaCare [a hospital network based in Wisconsin], commonly known as Lean, is about two fundamental principles: respect for people and continuous improvement.”
Those principles jive nicely with SHARE’s core beliefs: that the employees who do the work firsthand should be the ones who define how that work gets done. And those principles are very much at work in the new SHARE-UMass Memorial Contract Agreement. Frankly, we couldn’t have said it better than Doug Brown did in the T&G:
While seemingly simple, these principles have profound implications for how an organization is managed. Respect for people turns the traditional top-down management style on its head. It recognizes that the best ideas come not from senior leaders, but from those on the front line. That is where value is created in an organization. The job of leaders is to develop systems and tools to unleash those ideas. And then get out of the way.

You can read about more about SHARE’s firsthand impressions of ThedaCare hospital and Lean here on the SHARE blog.