NIATx Principle 2: Fix key problems (and help the CEO sleep at night)

Submitted by: 03/15/2017 by Maureen Fitzgerald

The NIATx model centers on five essential principles that have been shown to play a critical role in the outcome of an improvement project.

Principle 2: Fix Key Problems flowed naturally from what we learned when we reviewed the role that organizational management plays in a project’s outcome.  What we found was that not only is it crucial that respected, powerful and authoritative change leader leads the project, but also that the project has the full support and backing of the organization’s top management. Our investigation revealed that change projects are more likely to be successful when the top management is involved and committed to the project. This commitment means that the project will likely receive the support and resources that are needed for it to succeed. 

That’s where our principle of fixing key problems comes in, or, as we often put it, fixing the problems that keep the CEO up at night.  When you make improvements to problems that the CEO perceives to be important (which are often related to finances), chances are the CEO will remain committed to the project and to the whole concept of creating a culture of change within the organization.

We often hear the question “How do you get CEO buy-in?” A better question might be “How does our project buy in to what the CEO is trying to accomplish? Is that relationship crystal clear to everyone involved?” 

Another dimension here is how do you keep CEO buy-in? One way is to get results VERY quickly. The longer it takes to finish a project the more likely other things of importance will pop up and divert senior leadership’s attention. Ideally, a quality improvement project should be a hard-charging affair that you and your team can complete in two or three weeks.

From The NIATx Model: Process Improvement in Behavioral Health

  • All Stories