How Do You Make Countermeasures Stick?

Improvement Insights Blog

How Do You Make Countermeasures Stick?

How do you make improvement countermeasures stick? The answer might surprise you.


“Hi I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals” and QI Macros [software].

“You know, one of the things about countermeasures is when somebody else invents the countermeasure and makes you do it, guess what? You don’t like it very much. So when we were all told to wear masks, wash our hands, stay out of crowds… guess what? Some people really hated that. Now me as a Quality guy, I said “Oh, they know what the countermeasures are. I should wear my mask, wash my hands, stay out of crowds,” but not everyone does that.

“The same thing happens in [your] Quality Improvement project, right? When I’m working with somebody, even if I know what the answer should be, guess what? I wait for them to figure it out on their own because when they come up with the countermeasure they own it, and when they own the countermeasure, guess what? They’ll do it.

“That’s kind of a little secret: even if you know the right answer, sometimes you have to let the team figure it out for themselves. Then they’ll implement it and it’ll be wildly more successful than if you tell them, “Hey, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay out of crowds.“

“That’s my Improvement Insight for this week. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”

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