As a Licensed Affiliate of the Shingo Institute, Value Capture has taught the Shingo Model framework and Guiding Principles to peers who are dedicated to achieving enterprise excellence. In the coming months, Value Capture Senior Advisors (who are certified by the Shingo Institute to teach the Shingo framework in workshops), will dive into each of the 10 Guiding Principles.
The following excerpts highlight some of Ken's discussion.
First, Ken defined “principle.”
“What is a principle? A principle is a foundational rule that governs consequences, whether we want to believe in the principle or not. That last part is really important, ‘whether we want to believe in it or not.' It is operating in the background, and when our actions, which we call ‘behaviors' in the Shingo movement, align with it, good things happen. When our actions don't, bad things happen.
Stephen R. Covey taught that values govern our actions, but principles govern the consequences of our actions. A good analogy is gravity. You don't have to believe in gravity for it to be governing consequences.”
Ken next defined the principle of “Create Constancy of Purpose.”
“The 10 Shingo Principles are divided into 3 categories – Cultural Enablers, Continuous Improvement, and Enterprise Alignment.
Constancy of Purpose falls into the Enterprise Alignment category, together with Think Systemically, and Create Value for the Customer.
Create Constancy of Purpose is defined as an unwavering understanding of why the organization exists, where it is going, and how it will get there. It enables people to align their actions, as well as to innovate, adapt, and take risks with greater confidence.
When a leader creates those powerful conditions for the organization, our hypothesis about principles governing consequences poses that good things will happen.”
Positive Consequences of Living by the Principle
Ken then goes on to illustrate consequences people have experienced when leaders live in accordance with the principle, and when they have not done so.
In the context of the COVID crisis, Ken describes health systems whose leaders had previously centered on safety for all as a constant purpose throughout their organizations.
“[Making safety a precondition] is something everyone in the organization knows. We don't trade off against any other value, like money or time. Before COVID hit, at these places, when something is unsafe, we stop, and we fix it, and we spread the learning. We don't sacrifice our team members’ safety for any other good, and certainly not our patients. Safety is a precondition of excellence.”
At one such health system, early in the pandemic when PPE was scarce, “the leaders decided to provide every staff member with a fresh mask every day, despite the risk of running out of PPE.
They also implemented universal patient screening far earlier than others. They wanted to send a signal to everyone in the organization that they would have their back, no matter what, and to pull everyone in together to solving safety risks.”
The staff responded; the system experienced fewer call-offs than other systems, and staff was empowered to innovate. In fact, “They developed the first FDA‑approved re-sanitization process as one of their innovations….”
Consequences of Failing to Live by the Principle
Where the workforce did not have clear alignment because leaders had not created constancy of purpose, however, “there was greater mistrust when COVID hit, more call‑offs, more resignations, more retirements, less effective problem‑solving.
This compounded pressures on remaining staff and has led to increased patient safety incidents and poorer outcomes across the board. In other words, negative consequences, a negative cycle, which we've seen in far too many health systems, despite the amazing work of so many individuals and teams.”
Ken provides other examples of leaders who create constancy of purpose throughout their organization in his video. Our team looks forward to sharing more deep insights into the significant and very practical differences an understanding of the Shingo Guiding Principles can make throughout organizations.