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Blue Light

If y

ou haven’t heard the ‘Blue Light’ metaphor, you’re in for a delightful discovery. I would just tell you to Google it, but I’m too excited. When was the last time you thought deeply about improving the workflow and productivity in your business? I mean really looked around and scrutinized each process for efficiency- even if that means making uncomfortable changes?

As a business owner/founder/manager, it’s clear you have skill, creativity and innovation going on. But it’s easy to get complacent when things are running okay. Mustering the motivation to take a step back and reevaluate some of your processes can have a huge payoff.

When running a business, searching regularly for improvements can mean the difference between success and failure. You better believe that your competitors will finds ways to improve, so it’s necessary that you do the same- and if you're lucky you'll out-innovate them.

Organizations that are making a concerted effort to improve processes are getting an edge over the competition. Take a look at Intermountain Healthcare. You may think a woodworking business has nothing to do with healthcare, but there are things to be learned from process improvement in all industries. This healthcare organization is at the top of their game right now, getting a lot of media attention for their quality of service, while keeping costs down. Why are they special?

Intermountain has received several awards for its progressive use of electronic medical records and ‘evidence based medical care’. They have been willing to invest time and money into process improvement- and it IS an investment. They've created a culture of innovation in the system that encourages all levels of employees to speak up with improvement opportunity ideas. The company provides cards that any employee can fill out when they have an idea for increased efficiency, safety, or to conserve resources. From changing supply organization to modifying a communication process, these ideas are implemented on a regular basis.

The administrators know that they can’t be the only ones coming up with new ideas, and see the value in gaining information from the staff that’s deep in the day-to-day processes throughout the organization.