The collaboration continuous improvement program provides the framework and the fully engaged and committed team members provide the effort and direction for the success of the program. There is one final ingredient to this equation and framework, as I discussed previously, that will help to increase the chances for success and increase the chances of the program to become self-sustaining.  This final ingredient I suggest is an experienced continuous improvement facilitator.  This facilitator will provide the expertise and guidance necessary to build a solid and successful continuous improvement framework to support your collaboration partnership.

I believe that it is important to staff the continuous improvement team with members from across your partners.  I believe that ultimately this equation, of a continuous improvement team across the collaboration partnerships, is the key ingredient to the long term success of your collaboration partnership.  This does however place a lot of pressure on the partners to build a continuous improvement team and program that will bring quick success to build a solid and long term program.  In this type of situation I believe very strongly that investment in an experienced facilitator will provide a strong return on investment that will quickly recover the additional investment cost. 

Let me list some of the factors that lead me to this recommendation. 

  • The team members that you and your partners assign to this continuous improvement program will have the experience in your own procedures to identify and develop the program to succeed in your collaborative partnership.  T
  • This team will have the experience to quickly identify areas that can increase the success and value of the collaborative partnership.
  • The team will have the expertise in their internal processes and procedures to allow them to clearly define and execute the improvements.
  • The team will probably not however have the expertise necessary to facilitate the prioritization and value definition of the improvements identified in the program.

This last point is the hurdle to overcome and it is important that you not try to squeeze savings from this area.  The success of your continuous improvement program and the success of your collaborative partnership is dependent on the early success of your continuous improvement team and initiative.  Bringing in an expert in the development of the continuous improvement program along the expertise to facilitate the initiative will allow the team to focus on the initiative and build the framework that will support the success in the future.  In addition to the expertise that this expert brings to the program, this expert will also provide a level of comfort to the senior leadership of the partnerships that will encourage the leadership’s early commitment to the program and provide the runway for the continuous improvement team to gel and develop a pattern of success that will encourage the commitment of the participants.   

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

Have your started or are you in the midst of an institutional change initiative?  What are the key traits you have identified as required to support the initiative?  Have you contemplated the name or phrase for the person leading your initiative?