Before starting a discussion on leading quality operations, health care facilities professionals must realize one important truth: One cannot credibly lead what isn’t truly believed. Do more than “walk the talk.”

Adopting a philosophy that pursues continuous quality improvement as a state of mind and that directs a path through life and in all that one does will build a “self-culture.” This will improve not only the quality of one’s health care operation, but one’s life as well. It must become a never-ending quest for excellence.

Start by defining what is meant by the word “quality” and the expectations the word implies:

  • Does it mean all preventive and predictive maintenance tasks are completed on time?
  • Does it mean answering repair calls within a specified time range?
  • Does it mean completing service tickets correctly on the first attempt?
  • Is it a combination of the aforementioned?
  • Or, possibly, something else entirely?

Whatever is decided, make sure the plan or the combination of plans is measurable. Management without measurement is fruitless! Continuous and early measurement tells the manager if progress toward a goal or goals is being made and allows for course correction if warranted.

Don’t try to do this alone. A cadre of believers is needed. Recruit a core group to help guide things along. More importantly, someone will be needed to carry on after the initial leader moves on. Studies show that most change efforts only last five years. Make sure the efforts that will be implemented outlast this range.

To gain buy-in, use the team that has been formed to help set the goals and the metrics for measurement. These goals should be part of a long-range plan that includes small incremental steps.

Plan for success and, by all means, celebrate each time an achievement is reached. That will help maintain the momentum needed on the march to a sustainable quality operation. After all, that should be the ultimate mission of a quality initiative.