Healthcare is Changing and So Should We

Presented by HSPI Conference Committee - OPEN TO ALL

June 16, 2 p.m. Eastern time | Register now

Presenters: Laura P. McMichaels, OTR and Thomas West, Green Dot Group

Presentation Keywords

Leadership, change management, psychological safety, culture 

Presentation Description

Audience will be provided with three practical ways to effectively lead change and inspire innovation in healthcare through using Design Thinking, Improv, and Baldrige.


In healthcare, there are varying degrees of how Lean Six Sigma and other improvement methods are practiced. In some cases, the organization views the tools has a means to improving financial performance. While others view it as a competitive advantage for innovating and fostering an environment for learning (when things are going well, and when they are going poorly). In our experiences, leaders that see the objective of Lean Six Sigma as a cultural movement that empowers the front-line to speak up, to feel safe expressing their ideas, and to learn from failure will benefit from strong teams built on trust.


Despite Lean Six Sigma being broadly adopted in healthcare, significant gains have not occurred. Medical errors are still a primary concern for patients and care teams (cited as the 3rd leading cause of death). Health systems have not succeeded at curtailing health care costs, despite tremendous pressures to do so. Firefighting and burnout have become commonplace. Ideas exists on how to improve but they are not voiced for many reasons. The saying of “We’ve always done it this way,” is costing healthcare greatly. Our approach is to create trust between leaders and teams so that innovation can thrive. Considering the recent events of the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen that healthcare can be innovative. The challenge now is sustaining the change and continuing to innovate for the future.


Alternatively, a better approach to improvement could be to slow down, study the process, and allow for the people who lead the process and perform the process to feel safe in changing the process. This approach is supported by the theories of Design Thinking, Improv, and Baldrige. These approaches are well published by change leadership authors such as Brene Brown (Dare to Lead), Jim Collins (Good to Great), and Patrick Lencioni (5 Dysfunctions of a Team).

Conclusion/Practical Implications

Based on our observations, bringing about change in healthcare is leader dependent. To support leaders, we are recommending three ways to breakdown the “Just Try Harder” culture, and to lead with a continuous improvement mindset.1). Make it easy to speak up and share ideas. 2). Practice humility and gratitude - showing appreciation and curiosity about other people’s ideas. 3). Practice empathy but putting the patient at the center of your solutions.

Laura P. McMichael, OTR, MBA

Known to many as LP, Laura is a dynamic leader and facilitator with a broad range of experience in health care. An occupational therapist by clinical background, she has held positions in direct patient care, management, and performance improvement. Her passion for evidence-based improvement methodologies and organizational excellence are the foundation for her commitment to empowering leaders to create environments ripe for change and innovation. Training, mentoring, and leading people with empathy, humor, and positivity, Laura uses her lean six sigma black belt (ASQ CSSBB) in a people-centered way. She has an MBA, is a project management professional (PMI PMP) and an experienced Baldrige examiner who also utilizes human centered design and the rules of improve comedy in her approaches. Through these various lenses, she is committed to making sure every client has an individualized experience with the Green Dot Group in order to meet their desired outcomes.

Tom West

Tom has dedicated his career to helping organization’s get better, by helping the people of that organization be their best. To do this, Tom has pursued multiple certificates in project management, process improvement, and change leadership; but he will be the first to tell you that these certificates are only as good as his ability to teach others these skills. Many people are often surprised to learn that Tom has a Finance degree when they meet him, as often times you will find Tom at the front of the room leading teams, or on-stage driving dialogue. This of course is way out of Tom’s comfort zone, because he is an introvert and would prefer to work with data, in a quiet room – thus the degree in finance. But for Tom, the passion for helping others experience joy at work is more powerful that the fear of speaking in public or meeting new people.

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