Take time to celebrate small successes

Last month we held the first ASPH Quality Improvement (QI) Event titled “Supporting a Culture of Curiosity and Creativity”.  The purpose of the event was to celebrate some of the great QI work that has been undertaken in the Trust in the last year, but also to inspire others and share learning.


As part of my own presentation in the morning, I shared the short video below – The ‘green bottle experiment’. (If the video below doesn’t play, click here)

There are a couple of messages about QI that I encourage people to take away from this video.

1 – Personal responsibility

The obvious metaphor in the short video is about taking personal responsibility for making things better.  Even though we see things around us that are wrong or could be improved, it takes someone to show personal responsibility to make changes.

In too many organisations in the past, QI has felt like a top-down activity that is management-led and has subsequently felt remote to many people.  There is plenty of evidence and local examples to demonstrate that QI is more likely to be successful when it is led by someone who is taking personal responsibility for identifying and making a change.

The higher the level of personal investment from the person leading an improvement project, the higher the likelihood of a sustained positive impact being made.

The responsibility of leaders, therefore, is to create the right kind of environment and conditions in which people feel encouraged to try things and feel safe to be creative in making improvements.  Part of creating this environment is ensuring that people do not fear failure and that, even small, successes are celebrated.

2 – Celebrating small acts of improvement

The second message from the video is a more subtle one about the importance of celebrating and holding-up those people who have taken personal responsibility for making improvements – even if they seem relatively small.

Taking time out to celebrate a small act of improvement can feel strange or uncomfortable for many leaders and be careful not to go over-board as in the video!  But leaders who take time out to say ‘well done’ and ‘thank you’ to those who have volunteered to venture on a QI project will reap big benefits.

It was a pleasure to take out one day of the year to acknowledge and celebrate some of the great QI work that has been undertaken at ASPH at our event in June.  You can see many of the highlights and check out the feedback from the event here.

We hope that the event helped to inspire a few more people to get involved in QI and to share some valuable learning amongst our growing community.

We welcome your feedback as ever in the comments section below and be assured that the planning for next year’s event is already underway.


Mark – @MarkH_Work

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