iSixSigma

All posts by

Sue Kozlowski

View Profile

The Anti-Hawthorne Effect

I recently participated in a great discussion with a group of Black Belts in my SSBB exam review class. We were talking aboutthe importance of “walking the process” to understand it. Several BBs had the experience of managers trying to create a process map in a back room somewhere – these managers swore that their…

11 comments

Triple Threat

In my last post, about a recent Rapid Improvement Event (RIE, sometimes called a kaizen event), I mentioned that there were three Black Belts involved. I’d like to expand on that a little further and see what you may think of our arrangement. When a Rapid Improvement Event is chartered,alead Black Belt is assigned tomeet…

3 comments

Shazam!

Having spent the last week in a healthcare Rapid Improvement Event (i.e. Kaizen), I continue to marvel at the power and resourcefulness of a dedicated team of people. Our topic was “Patient Access” – in other words, how to get patients into beds more rapidly in a hospital that is typically at (or beyond) stated…

6 comments

Six Sigma By Any Other Name…

Here’s a synopsis of a recent conversation I overheard: “We do Six Sigma, but we don’t call it that.” “Why not?” “It would scare people off.” “Huh?” “If we called it Six Sigma, that gets interpreted by people as this strange, large, project “thing” with lots of data and statistics and change and being monitored…

9 comments

Speaking Up

Recently, I was asked to participate in an evaluation of presentation skills for one of our senior leaders. The questionnaire included questions that I expected – “speaks concisely” – but also some that I didn’t. After I completedthe survey, I started to think about my own presentation strengths and weaknesses. Here are some of my…

2 comments

Whorf is a Black Belt

Likely to be overheard if you have a Klingon Black Belt… 1. Behold, the Value Stream Map of Kalis! The greatest Klingon Black Belt who ever lived! 2. You doubt the worthiness of my statistical analysis? I should kill you where you stand! 3. By questioning my data you have challenged the honor of my…

3 comments

Charlton Heston was a Black Belt

What was really written on those stone tablets that Charlton Heston held in “The Ten Commandments?” The Ten Commandments For Six Sigma Black Belts in Healthcare I.Thou Shalt Have No other Goal than to Serve the Welfare of the Patient, by Process Improvement using Data Analysis or Lean Tools as Thou Needest. II.Thou Shalt Not…

3 comments

Help for Physicians

After writing my recent blog, “Physician Heal Thyself,” I attended a review session for the ASQ certification exam. The subject of physicians came up when we were discussing identification of customers in healthcare. One of the attendees reminded the group that physicians tend to be diagnosticians, looking for a way to fit the patient’s symptoms…

4 comments

Physician, Heal Thyself!

What makes some physicians so difficult to convince of the need for change? I’m talking aboutphysicians who are extremely unhappy with the current state. They complain to anyone who will listen. They threaten to take their patient volume elsewhere. They tell horror stories about orders they wrote that weren’t filled, wrong items in the orthopedic…

2 comments

From Six Sigma to Lean

Our health system began its Six Sigma journey about three years ago. We started up in Wave I with three Black Belts at the two largest hospitals (myself among them) who had no real idea of what would come. After a successful round of projects in Phase I, we expanded to hire an additional 12…

6 comments

Good News

I do my fair share of venting. OK, sometimes I even go on a rant. I have lots of great horror stories. Unbelievable team members, the Project from You-Know-Where, and the day my computer crashed and I lost 6 hours of data entry. I love swapping these stories, and playing “Can you top this?” To…

Process Owner Dilemma

My favorite quote, from a Manager identified as a Six Sigma project Process Owner: “Well if I’d known that being a Process Owner involved this much work, I would have never volunteered to be one!” In healthcare, we haven’t traditionally discussed the leadership role ofprocess management. In fact, “running healthcare like a business” isn’t usually…

4 comments

It’s Not Easy Being Green… Belt

I’m sure this never happened to any other Healthcare Black Belts: You’ve been selected as a Black Belt for a team, and you’re assigned one or two Green Belts for the project. Early in the project you notice that one of the Green Belts is pretty weak in a number of areas… basic things like…

3 comments

Six Sigma and Healthcare – An Oxymoron?

How many healthcare processes have you measured that are 2.0 Zst or higher at the start of the project? I’ve never had one of these – most of mine have started at below 1.0 or in the negative Sigma range. In every one of my projects, I’ve had to use lean tools to get where…

3 comments

“It’s So Simple!”

  I’ve been in the healthcare field all of my professional life. Whether this is your situation, or you have joined us lately, perhaps you’ve noticed the same thing I have. We all know what to do to make things better in our hospitals and facilities. It’s true… just ask anyone. Solve ER overcrowding? Reduce…

3 comments

Upward Management in Healthcare Six Sigma

How manyhealthcare Black Belts thinkthe biggest Six Sigma challenge is notproject management, or coaching your team, butteaching your Project Sponsor/ Executive Sponsor / Process OwneraboutSix Sigma? This is something I’ve encountered in early Six Sigma Project Waves. The scenario I’m thinking about is the one whereyou’re meeting with leadership about your project.In public meetings, they’ve…

3 comments

Who Am I, and Why Am I Here?

“Healthcare Black Belt seeks long-distance relationship with diverse group of process improvers willing to share opinions and experiences about the challenges of getting the right people to do the right things right.” First order of business: Who am I? I ask myself this question frequently. Every time I change jobs, it’s an opportunity to reinvent…

8 comments