Words of improvement that hit the target and leave their mark!
Engaging other people in your improvement efforts is vital if you want impact when you’re not around. And let’s face up to reality – there WILL be times when you are not around: like when you’re off duty, on holiday, training, or when you’ve moved on to trying to solve another problem!
Getting other people on board is the vital lifeblood of quality improvement. The challenge is making your priority, their priority. And if you’ve struggled so far, you may now be thinking about what you can do differently to get a different outcome!
Critically, you need to generate enough interest for your audience to REALLY want to KNOW MORE about the problem you’re trying to solve – because its unlikely you’ll get there in one stride. Of course, to do this you’ll have to contend with the invisible competition, by which I mean all the other things vying for their attention like: the meeting they are about to go to; the sick patient in bay 6; the budget that isn’t yet balanced; the staff shortage on B ward; the difficult conversation with a colleague; national targets at risk of missing; the inspection team visiting next week; their niece who is getting married next month; and buying food for tonights dinner etc..
To start your conversation, you need to be able to describe the ‘thing’ you are trying to improve succinctly whilst winning over hearts and minds. The ‘thing’ should be the problem and, I suggest, the problem as it presents itself to the patient, not to you.
And your description needs to have impact with your audience, cutting through their thoughts, and making a strong connection that will be hard for them to turn their back on.
Once you are clear about the ‘thing’ you are trying to improve, think about the information you already have about the impact of this problem on patients. You should be able to think about hard information (e.g. numbers, money, hours) and softer data (e.g. misery, frustration, anxiety, fear, discomfort). Think about how you would describe this problem to a neighbour or colleague who does not know your ‘work world’. This is important, because the people that you often need to engage may not be familiar with your ‘work world’ either.