One of the key tenets of our work is our belief that those closest to the work have the potential to make significant impact in day to day results. Whether working with a team in a bank, a medical clinic, or a hospital environment, we have found this to be true. Here are a couple of examples that demonstrate the power of engaging frontline teams in managing and improving their work: An operations research team within a financial services company achieved an 80% reduction in the loss write offs and an 84% reduction in the time taken to respond to a customer phone call. How did this team accomplish these things? Success was largely attributed to two factors:
First: Leadership sought to increase the employees’ level of ownership in day to day performance.
Second: Leadership provided a structure and method to make performance improvements.
This team, with leadership behind it, used the FasTrac TM collaborative problem solving process, and got to work identifying opportunities and solutions to improve its performance with loss write-offs and call response. The team successfully addressed these challenges, and job satisfaction levels increased by 17%, too. One leader shared:
“You have to let people manage themselves. Management’s job is to stretch them… challenge them.”
A cross-functional medical team, made up of employees from Ultrasound, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Nursing, was brought together and given the challenge of improving on-time portable ultrasound exams by 33%. This meant improving on-time performance from 57% to 90% within 4-months. The inability to complete the exams on-time reduced the Technologists’ productivity, led to employee dissatisfaction and frustration, and introduced the potential for risk to patients. Using the FasTrac TM approach, the team identified 13 potential causes for exams not starting on-time and eight solutions.
The team had just 90 days to develop, investigate, and test these solutions. The team met the challenge and surpassed it by completing 100% of exams on-time within the 120 day target. One team member shared:
“The FasTrac TM project exposed the group to tools, like mapping, which enabled the team to define the steps involved and assign accountability to ensure we met our goals.”
Involving the front line in managing and improving the work and results has been, and will continue to be, part of the equation in creating a high performing culture and successful bottom line.
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