The 5 pillars of policy & procedure management
If any of you are familiar with Quint Studer’s work, you have most likely heard of the “5 pillars”.
I am a big fan of Quint Studer. My favourite work of his is “Hardwiring Excellence”. It was in this book that I learned many principles that I adopted and used to make changes in both personal and professional aspects of my life.
The principles he describes are foundational. One of the chapters in the book is titled “Principle 1: Commit to Excellence”. Studer explains that when a hospital commits to excellence, it aligns staff and leaders and puts the “why” back into healthcare. It brings excellence across the entire organization and thus the reason for five pillars vs. only one. In this chapter, he further discusses how to align your hospital into operational pillars. The five pillars are: Service, Quality, People, Finance and Growth.
If you look at one process of your organization, such as policy and procedure management, as a micro system of the mesosystem, you can apply the five pillars to that work. By doing this you can develop clear goals, and clear goals mean a clear vision. A policy and procedure platform in an organization can be viewed as a service. It is a service to the staff, who need the documents. It is a service to external bodies – like regulatory agencies or attorneys – who need to review them.
- A goal under the Service pillar might be: to reduce the time to access policies.
- A goal under the Quality pillar might be: to reduce the number of outdated policies.
- A goal under the People pillar could be: to reduce policy committee membership.
- A goal under the Finance pillar could read: to improve staff productivity.
- Lastly, a goal under the Growth pillar might read: to decrease survey deficiencies.
Quint further explains in his book that the goals set under each of the 5 pillars are desired targets. Leaders need to think about what it will take to achieve excellence under each pillar. When leaders embrace this principle, it needs to be embedded within the organization in every way. It has to become part of the culture of how things are done every day.
At meetings, the agenda should be in a template with each of the pillars being a heading. At employee forums, when the CEO and COO are updating the staff, the discussions should fall under the pillars, like so:
“This is how we are doing with Service, our targets/goals are…”.
This is how staff will learn that the pillars are part of the organization’s foundation. I am a visual person and I like to see the 5 pillars’ role in the organization be as visible as physical pillars that uphold a building. In this way, I understand that without them, nothing will stand!
All in all, the book “Hardwiring Excellence” is an excellent read! I have goals in my personal life and my professional life that I’ve been able to further by using Principle 1 – Commit to Excellence. After all, if we are going to invest time and energy into something we think is important why settle for good enough when we can strive for excellence?
Nicola Heslip | Policy & Patient Safety Specialist | PolicyMedical™
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