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Continuous Improvement, Leadership, Lean

Eliminate slogans: don’t put the quality burden on customers

One of Deming’s rules for management was “eliminate slogans” so I was pleased to read Mark Graban’s Lean in Healthcare blog and see his parody of what’s happening in some hospitals.

Mark says “For years, I’ve gently mocked the “ask me if I’ve washed my hands” buttons that some staff are asked (or forced) to wear.” and he’s now created a website that points out the stupidity of these slogans.  The new site gives examples like:

  • “Ask me if I’ve double-checked the flaps” – for pilots
  • “Ask me if I’ve tightened your wheel nuts” – for car mechanics
  • “Ask me if I’ve cooked your chicken to 165F” – for chefs

Deming was trying to point out that it’s leadership, systems and processes that enable quality outcomes to be achieved and no amount of posters, slogans or management exhortations will make the slightest difference.  Creating the system for continuous improvement is top management’s responsibility and putting the quality burden on customers is completely missing the point.

Great blog post Mark!

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