Value Analysis Leadership Begins With the Selection of Your VA Leaders

You need the right leaders with the right attitude, skills, and temperament.

All great organizations, divisions, or units have great leaders (called by many different names) to plan, organize, manage, and control their operations and activities. It’s no different with value analysis teams; if you don’t have great leaders, your team will never reach its full potential. 

There is no substitute for great leadership, even if you have a well-defined value analysis process, committed team members, and your executive management team’s support. It’s like a ship without a rudder, it will drift in every direction but forward!  That’s why the selection of the right value analysis leaders with the right attitude, skills, and temperament is mission critical to your value analysis team’s success.

Value Analysis Leaders

After helping our clients establish, refine or reinvent their value analysis teams for over 20 years, we have developed a winning value analysis leadership organizational structure that follows this selection model:

Team Leader: The team leader or pilot of your value analysis team is an active participant in the discussions and content of  your meetings, leads the team inside and outside of meetings, develops and follows a written agenda, schedules the meetings, communicates with team members, and coaches and guides team members’ actions. The characteristics of this individual’s attitude, skills, and temperament should be as follows: motivator, organizer, team builder, enthusiastic, results oriented, communicator, welcomes challenges, anticipates problems and resolves them, and acts as a role model. In doing so, the team leader will:

  • Develop and follows the agenda for all meetings.
  • Lead the group discussions.
  • Monitor project managers’ progress on their respective Value Analysis Studies.
  • Report savings from the team to the VA Steering Committee and/or Senior Management.
  • Audit value analysis studies for completeness to ensure that no quality issues or dollars are left on the table.
  • Reject studies or new product requests that do not fit into the scope of the team.

Facilitator: The facilitator’s role as a navigator for your value analysis team is to navigate the team through their team meetings and value analysis process as they experience conflicts and roadblocks that need to be managed rather than ignored. In doing so, the facilitator will:

  • Allow the team to meet and interact in a structured manner.
  • Encourage all team members to be active and participate.
  • Help and coach team members with their projects and find win/win solutions in all of their deliberations.
  • Coordinate pre- and post-meeting logistics and activities.
  • Make sure team members are using the value analysis process.
  • Listen, observe, and intercede to ask clarifying questions.
  • Help to provide direction on management of team and projects.
  • Focus the energy of the team on the common goal of reducing cost, improving quality, and promoting safety.
  • Suggest alternate methods and procedures to move the VA process along.

There are no clear-cut rules regarding facilitation of meetings and your value analysis process, but taking action to resolve problems that have been identified is always the best course of action that can be taken by a facilitator. The characteristics of this individual’s attitude, skills, and temperament should be as follows: patient, curious, diplomatic, conciliatory, inventive, people oriented, and good listener and questioner.

Recorder: We are all familiar with the traditional role of the scribe or communicator, who records the minutes that are required or desirable as records for most value analysis meetings.  This gives this individual a passive role in all value analysis teams. In our model, this role is transformed into a communications director for your value analysis team. In this role, the recorder, standing at a flip chart will:

  • Document long-term memory by recording the main points of discussion on a flip chart for all team members to view.
  • Help the team to focus on a task by providing a physical point of attention.
  • Ensure an instant record of a meeting’s content and process for all to see.
  • Remember team members’ ideas, so you know they have been heard.
  • Enable team members to ensure that team ideas are being recorded accurately.
  • Help prevent endless repetition by making team members aware that a topic has already been covered or resolved.
  • Provide a graphic display (a visual aid) to assist in the retention of information discussed or ideas being conveyed.
  • Make sophisticated problem-solving methods possible, since techniques or tools to solve the problems at hand can be visually displayed, so that all team members can actively participate in the exercise.
  • Record an idea without the name of contributor, which depersonalizes it and transfers “ownership” to the team.
  • In addition to the above responsibilities, records the minutes of the meeting, distributes them, and reminds the team members of future meeting dates and times by e-mail, telephone or fax. The recorder is also responsible for reminding team members of any reports that are due.

The characteristics of this individual’s attitude, skills, and temperament should be as follows: Patient, cooperative, accurate, good speller, flexible, and detail oriented.

Administrative Champion: Your administrative champion or politician should be a member of your healthcare organization’s executive management team. This way, you can be assured your team will have the administrative support and guidance required to overcome political and administrative challenges. The role and responsibilities of your administrative champion are as follows:

  • Guide the team through the political and administrative mine fields it will be entering with your value analysis program.
  • Inform the team when it needs CEO or administrative staff’s approval for any change it is contemplating.
  • Act as a liaison between other standing teams or committees that your value analysis team should gain approval from.
  • Keep your CEO and the executive management team fully informed on the activities of your value analysis program.
  • Facilitate and problem solve, when the need arises, on any value analysis study or investigation with customers’ organizations to move the projects along to a successful conclusion.

The Administrative Champion becomes a advocate of value analysis throughout your healthcare organization, while at the same time looking for opportunities to give your value analysis team positive exposure to your board of directors, executive management team, department heads and managers, media, and the public at large.

By employing this very effective project management strategy of having an administrative champion on every value analysis team, your value analysis team(s) then becomes self-managing, more productive, and somewhat politically insulated. The characteristics of this individual’s attitude, skills, and temperament should be as follows: Enthusiastic, good listener and questioner, supportive of value analysis teams goals and objectives, proactive in solving problems, and a change agent.

Selection Process

It is the responsibility of your value analysis steering committee (if you don’t have one, see “Steering Committee: A Value Analysis Prerequisite” in Winter 2013 edition of HVAM) to select your team leaders. It is recommended that your team leader be selected from your department heads and managers, your facilitator from your supply chain staff, recorder from your secretarial pool, and your administrative champion from your executive management team. 

Ensuring Continuity

We recommend that a team leader’s term of office be for three years, since it is a  very time consuming responsibility to effectively manage value analysis teams. Although, many team leaders elect to continue their leadership role beyond three years because of their commitment to the healthcare organization’s value analysis program.

We also suggest that the handoff to a new leadership team be gradual with the incumbent being coached by his or her predecessor for at least three months. This will ensure a smooth and almost seamless transition of team leadership as not to disrupt your team’s productivity and performance.

Leadership Isn’t An Accident

As you can see, from the value analysis leadership organizational structure which we have outlined in this article, leadership isn’t an accident. It is planned for, cultivated, and grows if you have the right people with the right skills and temperament filling these positions. It’s just like another successful business unit; if you have the right leadership team, there is no limit to what you can accomplish in a very short time frame. Excellent leadership will also keep your team(s) at peak performance over the long-term.