Management Resistance implementing Quality Improvement

Improvement Insights Blog

Leaders and Managers May Not Be Your Friend

Have you ever noticed that some leaders and managers aren’t that excited about quality improvement? Do they actively resist improvements? Here’s why:

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

“You know, I like to read thriller novels. I just find them fascinating, and there’s always a good guy trying to defeat a bad guy. But the good guy isn’t just fighting the bad guy, the good guy invariably has to deal with the bureaucracy and somebody in their own organization who’s a problem, who’s trying to slow things down, stop things, or interrupt things, and they have their own personal agendas. So the good guy is not just fighting the bad guy, the good guy is fighting supposedly the good guys inside of their own organization.

“Now one of the pieces of Six Sigma dogma is that you need top leadership commitment. And I want you to be a little cautious because every company has a Fix-it Factory and it’s probably a quarter to a third of your total whatever it is you do: your hospital, your manufacturing plant, your payroll processing, whatever it is, right? So there are managers and leaders who are taking care of that 25%, 30%, and if you want to go in there and start to reduce that, guess what? You become their enemy.

“They want to stop you from reducing their fiefdom, from squeezing them down. Now little do they know, there’s a lot of other good stuff that can be doing besides fixing stuff that shouldn’t be broke and trashing stuff that can’t be fixed.

“So this is one of the things I want you to be aware of is that managers and leaders are not always your friend, and to pretend that everybody loves quality and improvement. You are out of your mind, right? You are going to face competition and constraints and pushback and all kinds of stuff from people that should be on your side.

“So that’s my Improvement Insight for this week. Let’s create a hassle free America,. Let’s go out and improve something this week.