The Top 10 CEO Roles in Quality – Part 2

In my first post on this topic, I covered the first THREE Critical Roles for CEOs in your organizations.

We reviewed that some CEOs have embraced the quality agenda and gladly lead the charge.  They lead high performing organizations that are often listed in the Top 100 hospitals and the Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital lists.  But in organizations where the CEO is silent, quality performance can be mediocre or worse.  A CEO who is active and involved is one of the keys to a top performing organization.  And because better quality = lower costs, they often lead the most cost effective organizations as well.

Here are the next three CRITICAL ROLES for your CEO:

4. The CEO Establishes a Board Quality Committee.

All organizations need a Board Quality Committee. But many still don’t. Just from a practical standpoint, the quality agenda is large and growing month by month.  You don’t have time to cover the required information at regular Board meetings.  So you need a forum to give quality and safety the attention it deserves and a Board Quality Subcommittee is the ideal venue.

I like a membership that includes board members, respected physician and nurse leaders, the CEO, CMO, CNO, and COO.  I also like to add the CFO and a patient. I often call on the CFO to address the cost savings generated by projects reviewed during the meeting.  It’s great validation of the ROI of your program!

An expert from outside your organization is a very beneficial addition.  They bring a different perspective and give you access to experts you might not otherwise have available.  They may identify gaps in a program AND they let the CEO and board members know when the program is on the right track.  I’ve found that external validation of my quality program is very reassuring.  Even is you feel you’re the expert (like I did), it’s great to have another set of eyes on your program.  It also provides validation to your boss that you’ve put together a great program and you’re open to recommendations from other experts.

At two of the organizations I served, we invited a prominent quality/safety expert to join the Board Quality Committee.  Everyone benefited, everyone learned, and our programs grew stronger as we adopted their suggestions.  Once I tucked my ego where it belonged, it was one of the best moves we made.  It was like having a quarterly consult from someone with the expertise of Brent James or Vin Sahney.  I now recommend this for every organization.

5. The CEO Conducts a Monthly Review of Performance.

A monthly review of progress to plan should be conducted by the CEO with his top leaders – the entire C-Suite.   Help the CEO conduct this meeting with the same depth, rigor, and sense of accountability as the monthly financial and operational reviews.  You’ll be surprised at the immediate jump in accountability and performance that rolls through your organization!  WOW! is all I can say every time I’ve put this in place.  And when I can’t get a CEO to do it … well, you know what happens.  Since Quality is a strategic priority that is central to your organizations’ success – do everything you can to encourage your CEO to help you manage it accordingly.

6. The CEO enforces accountability within the C-Suite.

Each quality goal should be owned by a member of the C-Suite. This gives you and the CEO a “go to person” and makes accountability straightforward.  Using the finance process as an example, when there is a negative variance to (the quality) plan, the CEO should require an explanation and an action plan from the accountable C-Suite leader.  This is missing in many organizations.  Shore this up and you’ll have another powerful tool to move your quality program forward.

We’re up to six roles.  The final 4.5 will arrive later this week.  Wishing you all the best as you build your program and take your organization closer and closer to error proof care !

Question: In what ways does your CEO lead your quality and safety program? How have you gotten them to take the lead? Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!