Christopher Govero
October 18, 2018

BTOES EXCLUSIVE SLIDE DECK: Quick Wins: Selecting 1st Projects

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Courtesy of Hospital Sisters Health System, 'Quick Wins: Selecting 1st Projects' Christopher Govero has written an article introducing his presentation:

Download the presentation slides here

Getting it right; right out of the gate

Performance initiatives that are effective from the beginning have a much higher rate of success than those that do not. Early successes and efficiencies in the process will make an impact on the colleagues or employees who share in the project. If you are going down the path of a true Operational Excellence Transformation, there are many places to start focusing on improvements in your organization. To really ensure buy in and establish the “why” behind the “what,” a purposeful approach to selecting the first project is key. Aligning the first projects with the company’s strategic plan or vision is very important. This vision is set at the highest level of the organization.

The strategic plan is usually a document or group of documents that describes what direction the organization wants to head in and what activity and leading goals will help them get there over the next one to five years. These goals are referred to as smart goals and outline the who, what, and by when it will be achieved. From this plan, cascades a department strategic plan that leaders, such as directors and managers, use to run their department or as some like to say, “Run their business.” These goals and metrics established for departments rolls down into goals and metrics for front line staff. These metrics can be found on huddle boards where all department staff can easily see them. Utilizing a tool such as the huddle board allows department huddles to become a vital part of aligning staff with the key metrics that will support the strategic vision of the organization.

There are three clear avenues for project selection that align with the strategic plan. The first is higher level projects that may take a year or more to complete. These projects come straight from the goals and activities spelled out on the strategic plan of the entire organization. Often, they are around very large scoped initiatives such as patient experience, growth, and quality. These projects are great starter projects for the executive leaders of the organization. They are already accountable for these metrics so having them take it on as a project establishes buy in from them to participate. Many of these large-scale projects spiral into several smaller projects. For example, reaching a quality score on the strategic plan covers many departments and perhaps even multiple Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) such as CLABSI, CAUTI, and CDiff. These HAIs may be broken up into separate projects that directors or managers will own. This case then becomes four projects; one for the executive and three for middle leaders of the organization. This describes the second place to find projects; projects that spiral down from large scaled projects on the strategic plan. The third avenue comes from the huddle board where the front-line staff discuss key metrics that directly impact them. Keeping with the quality example above, let’s take CAUTI. The ICU may have an issue with CAUTs and they need to focus on reducing them. A huddle discussion occurs, and they decide to come up with a project around communication and notification of catheter insertion and duration. They have evidence that when catheters are in for an extended length of times, infections can occur. This is how the third type of project is derived from the daily huddle boards.

There are many other ways of coming up with great first projects. Leadership strategy retreats, comment box, physician 1:1s, patient complaints, and many more. The key is to ensure whatever projects you start are aligned with your strategic plan. You might even be asking the question, “What if there is a project that is extremely important but not on the strategic plan? Should it be discounted?” The answer to that question is if the topic of the project is that vital and important perhaps the strategic plan should be revisited.

Having these early projects that have alignment to the strategic vision sets the tone for what the transformation is about - focused on the most important things of the organization. Project owners will feel a sense of importance to the success and longevity of the company. This feeling breeds engagement and emotion; two of the most important things to make improvement possible.

quick wins - selecting first projects

About Hospital Sisters Health System

Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) is a non-profit, multi-institutional health care system that cares for patients in 14 communities in Illinois and Wisconsin. With 15 hospitals, scores of community-based health centers and clinics, nearly 2,300 physician partners, and more than 14,600 colleagues, HSHS is committed to its mission “to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high quality Franciscan health care ministry.” It has had considerable benefits with operational excellence since they embarked on this journey several years ago, but how have they sustained this in the organization? Download this slide deck to see Christopher Govero discuss their journey, and their early key to success by selecting the first projects, which achieved significant benefits for their organization. 


About the Author

christopher govero pictureChristopher Govero, Executive Director of Performance Improvement and Outpatient Services of Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS St. Elizabeth’s in Belleville, IL), has key responsibilities in leading hospital wide Lean Six Sigma efforts as well as operations in Outpatient and Revenue Cycle departments.

Mr Govero has over 15 years of Lean/Six Sigma process improvement experience in a wide range of industries, including Healthcare, Manufacturing Government, Department of Defense, Education and other service industries. He has also spent time consulting both domestically and abroad.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Missouri Southern State University and a Master of Business Administration from Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri.  In addition, he also holds an ASQ Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification.

These slides were first presented at the Business Transformation and Operational Excellence World Summit (BTOES). To learn more, please visit

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