Consultants are typically hired because the client can’t get traction on the issues that matter most to them. Clients oftentimes expect the consultants to give them THE answer to their problem–to tell them what to do. In this scenario, the consultants examine so-called best practices and determine that they have THE answer. (See our article that details the problems with this approach in our Thought Leader section.)
This consultant-centric model is fraught with problems, not the least of which is that the solution is only part of the answer. (Yes, you read that right.) It is the ownership of the problem and the solution that leads to sustainable results.
Likewise, organizational leadership sometimes believes the tools are the solution—“We’ve put in place a Lean/Six Sigma infrastructure to deal with these issues.” What goes unrealized is that it is the way in which these tools are used and the theory behind the tools (which drives how they’re used) that makes this work successful.
Guiding Principles Drive Discovery
First, we utilize Guiding Principles for every engagement. These Principles provide the framework for decision-making from the team. The team (any team—organizational leadership, an ED redesign team, a community group) isn’t working toward a specific solution, but rather a solution that works within the framework of the Guiding Principles. These Principles move a team in a direction that is consistent with success, but they don’t pre-determine what the specific solution should be.
Second, we blend the technical expertise (the use of the various process improvement tools), content expertise (we’ve been in this business a combined 60+ years), a systems thinking perspective, and the understanding that how caregivers think about their work drives the way in which they do that work.
While the facilitation methodology Insight Strategies utilizes has its roots in various continuous improvement techniques (Lean/Six Sigma, etc.), the way in which we utilize the tools, and the systemic context that we wrap the tools in are dramatically different. Our facilitation process utilizes exercises that bring out the highest level of engagement and the best thinking of the group by connecting to the various ways adults learn (auditory, visual, kinesthetic). Additionally, our experiences (ranging from front-line clinical care through the C-suite) enable us to press the team and the organizational leadership with questions and challenges that the internal process improvement personnel typically cannot.