5 Review and improve
So many change projects seem to just add a lot of work and make little difference. A good part of the problem here is that the outcomes are not that clear, or measurable – or measured.
So that your efforts are not a complete waste of time, you need to track whether they are making the differences they were supposed to make. Recall that you probably came up with many different ways of achieving the same end. So, like a good scientist, you need to measure whether or not the strategies you implemented actually produce the desired outcome. Be completely objective about it – don’t attach yourself too much to the outcome so that you can remain open to new and better ideas.
In the years we have been delivering this program, it seems that the one thing that is overlooked or given very little attention to is actually objectively measuring the outcomes achieved. Often people list the actions they intend to implement as their indicators of success. However, if you only focus on the ‘actions’ taken, you get caught in the activity trap, not really knowing whether the actions you are expending all that time and energy on are actually moving you any closer to the goals and outcomes you wanted in the first place.
A good place to start when thinking about how to measure outcomes is to identify the indicators that told you something was not quite right in the first place. What indicated that there was a problem? Was it increasing infection rates; diminishing staff satisfaction; not meeting throughput targets; increasing medication errors; growing deficit; increasing sick leave or agency use?
Considering your vision and target objectives, what would indicate success?
What data is needed to measure this indicator?
Write these in the Target objective column in your action plan (down-loadable action plan).
How can these be captured?
When will you review it? Write this in the ‘test and review process’ section of your A3.
Having implemented the actions, and measured the indicators, what impact did the strategies have on the indicators?
What should be done next?
Be prepared to adjust the plan if it looks like it is not achieving what it is meant to – don’t get too attached to it!!
Ultimately, you want to create a practice of continual improvement, where actions are taken, measured and adjusted as a matter of routine. The discipline of measuring and regular review will establish this continuous improvement culture.