Improvement Insights
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Latest "Improvement Insights" Posts

Nobody Wants to Look Bad

Nobody wants to look bad, which can make it impossible to make improvements. Here’s why:

“One of the things I’ve learned in all these years working in Quality Improvement is nobody, but nobody, wants to look bad. With the recent coronavirus [outbreak], the doctor who found that and [leaked news] out to the world, the Chinese government tried to shut him down, tried to keep that bit of information inside because they didn’t want to look bad.

“Well, this isn’t just a Chinese or Asian thing – saving face. In any business you walk into, somebody is in charge of how things are working and they’re in charge of trying to make it better, faster, cheaper.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, Improvement Insights, Lean, Six Sigma.

People Can Learn Quickly

People can learn Lean Six Sigma quickly, in a day or less. Here’s why:

“When I was about six years old, I was playing in a neighbor’s yard; we were rolling around in the grass and stuff like that. I came home and I went into my bedroom and I started digging around in my pocket and I felt something kind of fuzzy. I thought maybe there was a lint ball or something. I pulled it out of my pocket, threw it down and it came back and stung me in the neck.

“That bee sacrificed his life, but I learned a phobia of bees.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, Improvement Insights, Jay Arthur Blog.

I Only Get Paid to Do It the First Time

How big is your Fix-it Factory?



“I talked to a contractor at a building site and he told me, “I get paid to do it the first time, but I don’t get paid to do it the second time (to rework things),” so he’s very much focused on doing it right the first time.

“I think we’d all say that, but if you look at most companies, they all have a giant Fix-it Factory, fixing this, that and the other thing. Those people are being paid to fix things that shouldn’t have been broken to begin with. Or to trash the things they can’t fix.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, Improvement Insights, Lean, QI Macros.

3/5/20 Healthcare Webinar: How to Achieve the IHI’s $500 Billion Goal

I’ll be hosting the 2nd webinar in this series on Thursday, March 5th at 1:00PM MST

We’ll go into more specifics how your organization can find what’s causing you the most problems, how to determine who should be on the improvement team, and how to ensure that the countermeasures you enacted are both reducing waste and errors and that the improvement doesn’t slide back down. 

What:  FREE Webinar 2 of 3: How to Achieve the IHI’s $500 Billion Goal.

When: Thursday, March 5th, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. MST

Where:  Join online from wherever you are.

How:  Register for the webinar HERE.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, healthcare, Improvement Insights, Lean, QI Macros, Six Sigma, Webinar.

Mistakeproofing Flu Season

A couple of years ago, in spite of vaccinations, I got the flu and it turned into pneumonia. Here’s what I do to prevent infections.



“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur. A couple years ago, in spite of my flu vaccine and my pneumonia vaccine, I first got the flu, and then that developed into pneumonia, and then I had to spend five days in the hospital… that was not fun, all right? After that I thought, “Hmmm, maybe I should change how I do things, right? How can I keep these things that get near my nose and my mouth away from me?

Posted by Jay Arthur in healthcare, Improvement Insights, Lean.

Agile Hacks for Making Lean Six Sigma Sticky

Some companies are discovering Agile methods for implementing Lean Six Sigma. Over 50 years of research into how cultures adapt, adopt and reject change can explain why Agile works and why it accelerates Lean Six Sigma adoption.

“I recently did a video about how Christus Health and Novartis and Underwriters Laboratories were all using Agile methods to implement Lean and Six Sigma with one day (sometimes two day) training classes that created Yellow Belts focused on making improvement. I got to thinking about that a little bit, and it turns out that there’s over 50 years of research into how cultures adopt, adapt and reject change.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, Improvement Insights, Jay Arthur Blog, Lean, Six Sigma.

Management By Control Chart

My career was dipped in various management methods such as MBO and MBWA. Recently I read a new term: Management by Spreadsheet (MBS). Maybe there’s a better way.



“When I was working at the phone company we had a variety of management fads. I think first there was MBO, or “Management By Objectives.” Of course, that assumed that you know what your objectives were. We had MBWA, “Management By Wandering Around,” so the management team was wandering around all the time and just getting in our way. Recently I saw a different phraseology and I kind of liked it: MBS, which stands for “Management By Spreadsheet.”

“You know, if you think about it, there’s very few people who can actually read a spreadsheet and get intelligence out of it.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, Improvement Insights, Jay Arthur Blog, Lean, QI Macros, Six Sigma.

IHI’s Trillion Dollar Aim – Reduce Healthcare Waste by 50% by 2025

IHI set a goal to reduce healthcare waste by 50% by 2025. Here’s how to do it with the Trillion Dollar Prescription.



“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals.” We were just out at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement conference in Orlando, Florida. [There were] like, 4500 medical doctors and nurses and CNO’s and CNMO’s and people all involved in improving healthcare quality. This is their 31st annual conference. (I can tell you based on what I was looking at on the posters, people are not really aggressively going after change…)

“The IHI announced that it’s tackling what they call the “Trillion-Dollar Checkbook.” Their goal is to cut health care waste by 50% by 2025 – that’s five years from now.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, healthcare, Improvement Insights, Jay Arthur Blog.

2020 New Year’s Resolution Part 2 – Improve

Many people take Six Sigma classes but only do one project. “One and Done” as it’s known in the trade. Make a resolution to start making improvements every month! Here are my suggestions.

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur. It’s 2020, and last week I suggested that you go out and learn one new tool in the QI Macros every month. Now I’m also going to suggest that you set a New Year’s Resolution to make one improvement a month as well.

“Set a goal to do one improvement every month and by the end of the year, you’ll have made 12 improvements and dramatically reduced the amount of waste and rework and lost time and overtime and everything else that is involved in your world, right?

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Jay Arthur Blog, Lean, QI Macros, Six Sigma.

2020 New Years Resolution Part 1 – Learn One Tool Per Month

Many people tell us that they have QI Macros, but they don’t know how to use it. Make a resolution to learn how! Here are my suggestions.



“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur and… it’s 2020. How did that happen? A new year; a new decade. Seems like just yesterday everybody was worried about Y2K. Somebody out there is thinking, “What’s Y2K?” That was a thing that happened back in the year 2000… you probably forgot all about it, but I’ve been at this for over twenty years now in the software field around Quality Improvement, so I’ve seen a lot of things.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Jay Arthur Blog, Lean, QI Macros, Six Sigma.