How a Human Resources Director used Rapid Action - an innovative small team improvement process with a unique action learning toolkit - to solve company problems and develop new leaders.
In the healthcare industry, experienced leaders are often in short supply. That’s why Greg Felder, COO of Mercy Health Physicians, called on Leap Technologies when faced with the challenge of improving results and developing leadership talent. Greg was familiar with Leap’s work from his experience in another healthcare system. According to Greg, “I knew I could trust Leap to respond with a practical approach to developing leadership skills while also gaining traction on some of our key strategic challenges within the practice.”
Leap recommended deployment of Rapid Action as an “action learning” vehicle to develop stronger team leadership skills, business literacy, and Lean thinking across the ranks of Mercy Health Physician office managers while solving operating problems and improving patient services at the same time. The effort kicked-off with a one-day Leadership Jumpstart Event to brief Greg and his senior leadership team on Rapid Action and to select target improvement opportunities. Soon after, Leap facilitated a Rapid Action Workshop for “Wave I” team leaders.
The workshop provided each practice manager with an opportunity to experience Rapid Action in a “live simulation” using an actual Mercy improvement opportunity and prepared them to launch a Rapid Action team back on the job. Within two weeks after the workshop, nine Rapid Action projects were launched, with each targeting a critical issue such as improving patient access or managing pharmaceutical waste.
This initial wave of Rapid Action teams is wrapping up their 60-day projects as we speak and results are expected to match Leap’s experience with hundreds of similar deployments: Pay-for-itself leadership development with practical operating performance improvements.
There is no shortage of tools, methods, and consultants ready to assist when launching a continuous improvement initiative. Flagstar Bank, headquartered in Troy Michigan, recently invited Leap to participate in a review of resources to support a planned continuous improvement initiative across the organization. Read more on Flagstar’s decision to select Leap as its partner for this key initiative.
Flagstar wanted an approach that, first and foremost, would deliver measureable results quickly; could be delivered by their leaders; and, would provide the opportunity to engage employees without the need for classroom training. Leap’s “lean” approach to Lean Six Sigma using Rapid Action fit the bank’s criteria perfectly. Flagstar deployed Rapid Action following a proven prescription recommended by Leap: Start with a modest number of pilot Rapid Action teams to prove the return on investment to leadership and build enthusiasm for participation with employees.
Flagstar’s first “wave“ of Rapid Action teams (focused on issues such as streamlining credit card charge disputes and improving the cycle-time to funding decisions on home equity loans) produced results that exceeded expectations. Typical comments from employees participating on the teams included, “I’ve never seen a project move so quickly.”, “I was skeptical at first, but the structured approach really work!” and, “This was a great example of teamwork and collaboration. It was a privilege to be asked to participate.”
Based on success of the pilot teams and consistent with the objective to manage Rapid Action internally, Leap worked with Flagstar to train a small team of Rapid Action Coaches that have taken on responsibility for planning, training, and supporting new teams. Flagstar Rapid Action Coaches are currently supporting several teams launched as part of Wave II deployment.
If your organization is planning to deploy or renew a continuous improvement effort, please contact us to explore how Rapid Action as well as other Leap Team Engagement methods can speed results and improve employee morale.
Bringing a steady flow new products to market is a matter of company survival in the Pharma industry. That’s why Fran DeGrazio, charged with forming a Global R&D Team for this Exton Pennsylvania-based, global manufacturer of drug packaging and deliver systems, engaged Leap to help align team roles, responsibilities, decision-making processes and behaviors. Leap worked closely with Fran to design two Leadership Jumpstart meetings that brought together members of her team from the U.S., Europe, and Asia Pacific markets. According to Fran, “Leap helped us build a foundation of trust for the candid conversations we needed to define how to achieve our global mandate while maintaining service levels to our regional internal customers.”
Contact us to explore a Leadership Jumpstart application in your organization.
In the competitive market for outsourced services, CBRE is the industry leader in facilities management services. But staying on top isn’t easy and requires a commitment to continuous improvement and innovation. We recently had the privilege of helping a CBRE Global Account Team meet this challenge by using a combination of best practices for Lean Sourcing with Rapid Action.
To meet client expectations, CBRE Account Teams must walk the tightrope between maintaining service level standards and finding ways to operate more efficiently. The challenge is compounded when CBRE inherits suppliers from its client with old practices and long standing agreements in place. As the Account Team Director we worked with commented. “In most cases there’s little gain and high risk in simply squeezing suppliers for lower prices for the same levels of service. The better approach is getting people closest to where the services are delivered engaged in examining ways to improve efficiencies.”
Leap helped the Account Director and his management team apply this thinking by facilitating an innovative combination of Lean Sourcing methods with Rapid Action teams. Five Rapid Action Sourcing Teams were recruited, each chartered with finding efficiencies in services provided by a major supplier in areas such as janitorial, landscaping, electrical repair, day labor, etc. Over the course of a four-hour launch meeting, each team completed a Lean Value Stream Mapping exercise to identify potential areas of waste in service delivery and then brainstormed ideas for improving the scope and efficiency of services, as well as renegotiating contract terms to better meet client expectations at lower costs.
To test and implement their most promising ideas developed in the launch meetings, the teams employed the proven Rapid Action discipline of assigning a champion to each idea and conducting brief weekly action meetings to share findings and update on progress. Over the course of roughly 60 days each team was successful in executing action plans that will produce a forecasted budget savings of nearly 7%, equating to hundreds of thousands dollars freed up, without negative impact on service levels.
Contact us to learn more about combining the power of Rapid Action with Lean Sourcing to improve delivery of external services at lower costs.
Prior to the Great Recession, Lean Six Sigma was the considered the methodology of choice for any mid-sized to larger organization looking to improve operational efficiencies and customer satisfaction through internally-driven process improvements. Since then, the “buzz” on Lean Six Sigma has diminished greatly, particularly at the executive level. Many early adopters of Lean Six Sigma have cut-back investment dramatically, if not disbanding the function entirely.
Rather than being dismissed to the graveyard of so many other corporate fads, our observation is that Lean Six Sigma is not dead, but evolving from a staff heavy and training intensive deployment model, to a more agile continuous improvement method that leverages fewer full-time “Belts” with more just-in-time and easily accessible participation by line managers and employees. Many of our clients have successfully transformed and “re-energized” their Lean Six Sigma deployments to deliver faster and bigger results with less overhead by incorporating Rapid Action into the toolbox. Read more about deploying Rapid Action to revitalize Lean Six Sigma through productive employee engagement.
We’re pleased to announce the recent update of our flagship product for productively engaging teams in continuous improvement and innovation. Rapid Action is not only sporting new graphics and packaging, we’ve streamlined the process from end-to-end, incorporating many suggestions from Rapid Action users. Contact us to schedule a peak “under the hood” of the new Rapid Action Toolkit.
Developing Leaders AND Improving the Bottom-Line: Download this case study describing a new way to develop leaders that more than pays for itself with measureable results.