My staff and I have been observing, training or facilitating supply chain initiatives (big, small and transformational) for 25-years and have learned a few things about what makes them succeed, go off track or downright fail.
For instance, it might be said that all initiatives involve people, processes and technology to accomplish their stated mission, but what isn’t well understood is that 20% to 25% of the success of the initiative rests on how well a healthcare organization follows these six guidelines for optimizing the outcomes of their big, small or transformational systems and processes:
Everyone (executive management, customers and stakeholders) needs to be on the same page for any supply chain initiative to succeed. A directive can’t be just e-mailed by someone on high to all involved parties to ensure alignment. Alignment can only be accomplished by a series of organized educational sessions that build understanding, trust, engagement, and commitment to the work at hand.
Tepid, infrequent and unclear communications about your initiative won’t get the job done. You will need to develop a surefire communication strategy before launching your initiative to guarantee that there are no miscommunications. I’ve seen some healthcare organizations have a newsletter for major initiatives sent to every employee at their hospital, system or IDN to continuously inform their staff of what’s happening on a monthly basis since under-communicating can cause more harm than good.
3. Team Approach
Most initiatives require teamwork of some sort to achieve their goals and objectives, but leaving the “how-to’s” to your teams’ own designs without providing them with a defined structure, ground rules and training is a formula for disaster. This goes back to getting everyone on the same page and going in the right direction. This can’t be achieved if everyone is going every which way — but forward.
This is all about getting everyone from your steering committee (if you have one) to your individual team leaders and team members involved, motivated and invested in the work that they have been assigned. This can be accomplished with clear communications about the importance of the work, team building exercises and providing (monetary and non-monetary) incentives for work that exceeds expectations.
We have found that teams can be easily empowered, to do the right things in the right sequence, if they aren’t required to ask permission from their executive management on every decision that they make. That’s why we insist on having a senior level champion assigned to the teams we facilitate for our clients to guide their teams in making the right decisions for their healthcare organization.
A team has an obligation to accept responsibility for their actions and outcomes. Otherwise, they would be just another social network meeting to discuss common problems and exchanging ideas. That’s why you must set concrete goals and objectives for your teams and then hold them accountable for their actions vs. hoping that everything will turn out all right.
If you are looking for more successes than failures with your supply chain initiatives then I would suggest that you consider these six guidelines for success as a starting and ending point for any and all ventures that you are contemplating. Especially now that you know that 20% to 25% of the success of your projects depends on how you communicate, organize, train and then hold your team members accountable for their actions.