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STANDARD WORK FOR CEO

Updated: Apr 2, 2023


Have you ever heard that some types of work cannot have standard work? What about the CEO function?


I was visiting a healthcare organization when its CEO told me “Follow me, Didier. I am going to show you the impact of your work.” I was surprised because I had never been in this hospital and had only met the CEO a few times at conferences and at a workshop I had facilitated a few years ago. When arrived at his office, he showed me documents displayed on his office’s door, facing the hallway. He had applied the teaching points from my CEO's standard work workshop.


Laying out his key activities on the standard work document and identifying the purpose of each activity helped him stay focused on the purpose of his work and his value-added activities. The standard work document supported his weekly reflection on the potential elimination, combination, simplification, or delegation of some of his activities. Standard work is a hypothesis until it is completed: the weekly reflection allowed him to identify, chart, and analyze “process defects” which are planned activities that didn’t go as planned or were simply not completed.


The CEO told me he posted the document on his office door, facing the hallway, to make it visible to his C-suite team members, and to hold himself accountable. His team members followed his lead using the same tools and practice. This allowed the CEO to routinely review the standard work of his team members and support them in improving their routine and eliminating their “process defects.”


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