2021 New Year's Resolutions for Quality

Improvement Insights Blog

2021 New Year’s Resolutions for Quality

Here’s three New Year’s Resolutions to accelerate your quality improvements: 1) Raw Data Diet, 2) Quality Tools and 3) Worst First. Here’s why these will change your future and your company’s:

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur. It is the New Year and so it’s time for some New Year’s resolutions. Here’s some resolutions I’d like you to consider.

“First, go on a raw data diet. That means you need to know everything about each individual defect, mistake and error, and then you can summarize that. If you start from summarized data you don’t know where the raw data is, and so most of the time you can’t actually figure out what to fix without the raw data. So start from raw data, summarize it using pivot tables, use control charts, Pareto charts, histograms, fishbone [diagrams].

“That’s another one of my recommendations for something to choose to do this year: Use the Tools of Quality. Control charts, Pareto charts, histograms, fishbone [diagrams], value stream mapping, spaghetti diagramming. Use the Tools of Quality. I see people trying to make do with line charts and bar charts and they’re not winning.

“All right, so… So far: Raw Data, Tools of Quality. Number three: Start with the worst first. Go out and find the 4% of your businesses producing over half the mistakes, errors, waste, rework, lost profit, patient harm… whatever it is. That 4% in the first quarter of this year; work on that 4%. Reduce the worst of all of those problems. Then in the next quarter start with the next 4%, and the next quarter four more percent, and the next quarter four more percent. By the end of the year you will have hit 16% of all the stuff that’s really causing harm inside of your business and wasting money and profits.

“Now one of the secrets is [knowing] how cultures adopt and adapt change. If you get somewhere between 16% and 25% adoption, it’ll spontaneously combust and sweep over the whole organization. If you do 4%, 4%, 4%, 4% and maybe next year do four more and four more, by the middle of next year (that’s 18 months) you’ll be slaying most of the dragons that are facing your company and you’ll be massively more successful and profitable, which will make you more money, which will get you more customers, which will get you all kinds of things that you want, right? In healthcare this would reduce patient harm and mortality and all the other stuff that goes along with it.

“So that’s something you can do: Pledge allegiance to the 4%, Worst First each quarter until you get all of that stuff out of the way. There’s still going to be more “worst firsts” but you know you’ll have gotten most of it in 18 to 24 months and that’ll dramatically improve your customer experience, your experience as an employee, and the company’s performance.

“Wow, just three things; just three things to do: Raw Data, Quality Tools, 4%. Let’s create a hassle free America, hassle free health care. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”