The Myths of Quality

Improvement Insights Blog

The Myths of Quality

The Myths of Quality are holding you back. Here’s why:

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

“I want to talk to you about what I think are the myths of quality. These are from last century, but they’re very pervasive.

“Number one: That you have to have leadership driving the thing so that it does what it does. I think this is false. This was created by consultants because they needed the leadership team to get involved to open up the pocketbooks to pay for everything. No, I believe that each one of us can be an informal leader and we can start making improvements right now. As we start to make improvements, guess what? Leadership will notice and when the leadership notices, guess what? They’ll come up with more money and time, people to go do… do more stuff. Right?

“Myth number one: Leadership. Myth number two: That you have to train everyone, because no, you don’t. As I pointed out in previous [videos] you take Pareto’s rule and you distill it down to the core; maybe 4% of what you’re doing is causing over half the mistakes, errors, waste, rework, lost profits and patient harm. Four percent. That means you don’t have to train everyone. Training everyone is stupid. It’s a waste of time, but it’s great for trainers and consultants. Do you understand?

“What you need to do is figure out “Is there data about a problem to be solved?” Yes. Grab that data, get the people in the room who should be on that team, give them a little bit of training so they understand what you’re doing, use the Tools of Quality to pinpoint the thing, do some Root Cause Analysis and then go have them implement it and get results. That’s what I call Agile Process Innovation.

“So don’t think you have to train everyone. That’s just a waste of time and energy. Train people as you need to for the 4% that needs fixing next: now, a week from now, a month from now, whatever.

“Last but not least: You do not have to know everything to do anything. You don’t have to go to a Black Belt class, right? I have a one-day Yellow Belt training online for free which you can go take right now: I believe that with seven key tools you can solve 99% of the problems that you’re going to run into. Yes, there are more complicated ones, but if you try and learn all that stuff right now it’ll just be confusing.

“You don’t need to know everything in the world, and you don’t need to know every kind of control chart. I think an XmR chart (an individuals chart) will handle most data. Dr. Donald Wheeler calls it “the Swiss army knife of control charts”, so you don’t have to know all the attribute charts and everything else. Yes, if you’re sampling you might need to learn an XbarR chart, but you don’t need all that. Most things in this world are service related and they’re individuals data, they’re not sampling.

“So you don’t need to know everything. A control chart, a Pareto chart, histogram, fishbone, you know… some matrices. You need to know how to use Post-It notes to do Value Stream Maps and Spaghetti Diagrams, and you probably need to learn a little bit about pivot tables, but the QI Macros Improvement Project Wizard will automate all that for you, so you don’t need to know a lot about pivot tables either.

“All right, so those are the myths, right? 1: Leadership, 2: Train Everyone, 3: Know Everything. No! Only learn the thing you need to know at the moment you need to learn it, and only involve the people you need to involve to solve specific problems. Start with the worst first, fix that.

“That’s my Improvement [Insight] this week: Let’s simplify, streamline and optimize Lean and Six Sigma and Process Improvement or… you know… “Operational Ex… whatever-you-call-it”. Let’s simplify what we’ve been doing and forget our legacy of how things used to be dreamed that they had to be, and dream up a new world where it’s faster, better, cheaper to do Quality Improvement all the time, everywhere, when you want to, not just because you have to. Right? Find the worst first, fix that.

“Let’s go out and improve something important this week.”

This entry was posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.