Overcome the Frustration Barrier

Improvement Insights Blog

Overcome the Frustration Barrier

Most quality improvement professionals have long forgotten how hard it was to learn QI. What if you could help newbies overcome the frustration barrier?

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

“I was out at the American Society for Quality conference last week in scenic Philadelphia. One of the things that I’ve noticed is when we talk to people, most people forget how hard it was initially to get through the frustration barrier to learn Quality when they began. They forget how hard it is. Just like childbirth, women forget how much it hurt; they just… “Oh, yeah, I got a baby.” Right? But a lot of people in Quality Improvement have forgotten the pain and suffering it takes to get through that early stage – the frustration barrier – to get the point where you can do stuff.

“Because I worked in the phone company, I had three co-workers and they were all named Sheila: Sheila B, Sheila D and Sheila C. Guess what? One of them had a high school education and was a union worker, and she wasn’t quite as comfortable with some of the things as the other two were. (None of us were that comfortable with learning all this stuff.) Whenever I think about an end user, I think about somebody with a high school education who maybe climbs poles for a living and fixed wires, or works in a call center, something like that. How can I make them get through that frustration barrier quickly?

“That’s what the QI Macros Control Chart Wizard, other Wizards, Stat Wizard and Improvement Project Wizard are designed to do: get people through the frustration barriers so they can start making improvements, and the faster I can do that, guess what? The faster they can get on with doing important things, right? They don’t need to know formulas or a whole bunch of hoo-ha, they just need to start making progress and saving time, saving money and saving lives.

“So that’s my Improvement Insight: Let’s make it easy. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”