Yankee Spirit Goal Setting

Improvement Insights Blog

Yankee Spirit Goal Setting

Yankee Spirit (50% reduction in delay, defects and deviation) is easy to achieve. It’s imperative. Here’s why:

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

“When I first got started in Quality Improvement, our training folks talked about Yankee Spirit as a method of setting a goal. What’s Yankee Spirit? Well, Yankee Spirit is simply a 50% reduction in delay, defects and deviation.

“Well, that just sounds like we’re just taking a dartboard throwing a thing at it, but it was years later that I realized that this is actually scientifically doable. As I started to look at it, Pareto’s rule says 20% of what you do produces 80% of the waste, rework, lost profit, patient harm… whatever you want to call it. Within that 20%, Pareto’s rule also applies, which means that that first four percent… guess what? 4% of what you do produces over half the total defects, delay, deviation, and so what we can do is find that 4%.

“People don’t seem to understand percentages so I’ll simplify it for you: That means four steps out of every hundred (or one step out of every 25) is causing half the waste, rework and lost profit and patient harm and deaths and all the other stuff that goes along with it.

“Here’s what you want to do: You’re going to want to take some data and help you pinpoint the 4% – the one step out of 25 – that’s causing most of your waste, rework and loss profit. Guess what happens when you do that? You can get massive improvements with a minimum amount of effort.

“You don’t have to fix everything. Stop thinking you have to fix everything. That’s stupid. People do these wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling Six Sigma implementations… it’s stupid, all right? Go out and use some data to pinpoint exactly what’s broken, get the right people together that know something about that, and then fix that.

“This is not hard, all right? You don’t have to do it all the time, you don’t have to do it everywhere; that’s stupid. “Find the 4%, fix that” will give you a 50% or more bang for the buck. I have never failed do that, all right? This is just not… you know… if there’s problems out there and we can cut it by 50%, guess what? Massive improvements are possible, and then you do the next 50% and the next 50%… whatever it is. Pretty soon you have a hassle-free America, hassle-free health care.

“So that’s my Improvement Insight for this week: I believe that anybody can learn how to do this quickly and easily with the QI Macros. I think it’s easy; and again, if you narrow your focus down to the few things you need to be fixing, you don’t need all the charts in the world.

“You don’t need to know everything to improve anything.

“Let’s create a hassle-free America. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”