Tips for Sustaining Leadership Involvement in Your QI Project

Posted January 22, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

QI Tips: Sustaining Leader Involvement
When it comes to sustaining change, many of the critical elements required in leading change—creating urgency, having a vision and strategy, removing obstacles, solidifying gains—are all still required. But one key element to make sure change sticks and gets anchored to a culture is to nurture a coalition of formal and informal leaders that support the ongoing improvement effort.

“Sustainability doesn't just happen on its own,” says NICHQ Improvement Advisor Amanda Norton. “It takes proactive planning and a bit of agility to make sure the hard work and outcomes are not lost.”

Here are four tips for sustaining the involvement of your guiding coalition of leaders.
  1. Hand-off some personal ownership. It might seem counter-intuitive when trying to sustain change, but transferring leadership of the initiative over to others ensures that the changes get embedded in the culture and don’t solely rest on the shoulders of the original project lead. 
  2. Continue communicating. Communication becomes even more important once a systems change has been successfully implemented. Make sure to update the message and keep it relevant. Instead of communicating about how to make change, the message should be about the successes that are resulting from the change and why it is important to keep supporting the new way of doing things. 
  3. Grow the core guiding team. Individual’s priorities change, work assignments change and organizational turnover is constant. Avoid losing momentum for you change efforts by having a recruiter’s hat on and thinking who can join the guiding team and support its success.
  4. Maintain data collection. While data collection needs may change some, abandoning data collection efforts, or failing to review the data as a team routinely, will surely lead to un-sustained gains.
“We often assume because we worked so hard, focused so intently and accomplished such success we would NEVER resort back to the old way—this simply isn't true,” says Norton. “Little obstacles to sustainability will pop up as time goes on. Without a plan these hiccups could lead to a complete loss of your gains.”

What to learn more? NICHQ is ready to help your organization advance its improvement agenda. Contact us at


Add your comment





qi collaboration engagement partnerships larc im coiin nichq nashp breastfeeding new york wic quality improvement onboarding new york state hospitals mom mother partners epilepsy data AAP early childhood eccs coiin pdsas texas community support learning session infant mortality children's health new technology engineering transgender collaborative learning planning PDSA planning paralysis underplanning analysis paralysis vision eye health smoking smoke-free housing second-hand smoke toolkit e-module infant health dental care oral health underserved populations health inequity public health Maternal and Child Health Journal tips leadership engagement Sickle cell disease indiana SCD medicaid perinatal regionalization safe sleep sudden infant death syndrome national birth defects prevention month birth defects pregnancy planning one key question prepregnancy health preconception health public breastfeeding support family engagement families patients experts insights CHOPT childhood obesity innovation food desert telemedicine TBLC breastfeeding supporting preterm birth prematurity racial disparities audiology ehdi follow-up illinois talana hughes vulnerable populations sports asthma soccer basketball obesity football SIDS Pokemon Go gamification smartphones interconception care birth spacing issue brief contraceptive use postpartum care CoIN HRSA early childhood trauma NHSA community health consumer advocacy womens health interconception health teenage health PATCH wisconsin missouri risk appropriate care community health workers SCD< infographic infant mortality awareness month inspirations childrens health national breastfeeding month maternal health patient engagement hearing loss hearing treatment pediatric vision vision screening eyesight pre-term birth early-term birth SCD clinic los angeles LOCATe CDC levels of care neonatal care maternal care smoking cessation project safe sleep practices neonatal abstinence syndrome NAS opioids maternal and child health MCH Family voices quality care mental health hydroxyurea SCDTDP men dads testing change data sharing state government city government apps sleep AJPM preconception care senior leadership breastfeeding support video series health equity health disparities access BQIH exclusive breastfeeding long-acting reversible contraception unplanned pregnancies social determinants of health health innovations Best Babies Zone CoIIN baby boxes Rhode Island progesterone rooming-in Baby-Friendly parent partner patient and family engagement healthy weight healthy lifestyles primary care telementoring ECHO video conferencing socioemotional health childhood development pediatric Tennessee interview National Coordinating and Evaluation Center medical-legal partnerships mobile app disparities perinatal care overweight obese healthy weight clinic wellness pilot sites data collection education resources paternal engagement risk-appropriate care preterm infants high-risk babies Ten Steps public relations social movement reversible contraceptives medical home pediatric medical home patient transformation facilitator PTF skin-to-skin rooming in prenatal smoking information visualization charts SUID postpartum new mother webinar AMCHP QI Tips ongoing improvement fourth trimester partnership quality and safety coaching PDSA Cycle leadership support year end holiday message reflections gratitute Medicaid data doctor relationship PQC perinatal quality collaboratives vision care vision health evidence-based guidelines ASH health and wellness healthy living healthy eating home visitors home visiting programs March of Dimes APHA results evaluation supplementation formula reduction video infant loss social media advocacy leadership Berns Best Fed Beginnings Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding sustainability stress prenatal care data capacity epidemiologists surveillance data PFAC community partners preconception and interconception care motivational interviewing Native Americans ADHD NICHQ Vanderbilt Assessment Scale ADHD Toolkit system design care coordination skin to skin newborn screening ASTHO reduce smoking aim statement safe birth Texas Ten Step skin-to-skin contact 10 Steps staff training small tests acute care mother-baby couplet collective impact population health preconception Newborn Screening Program substance abuse breast milk formula milk bank crisis Huffington Post fundraising campaign first responders NYC improvement healthcare health system sickle cell diease treatment protocol family health partner maternity care Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network Health Outcomes Cross-Sector Collaboration Knowledge Sharing Child Health