Executive leadership is critical to effecting change. I'm not talking about incremental change, that's easy. Course corrections are what middle managers do. What I mean is changing attitudes and the ways people do their everyday job in a fundamental way. It is this level of meaningful change that's required to get people thinking about the way they do their work and actively embracing major change for a worthy goal.

This is a study (full text) on the effect of executive walk rounds on nurse safety attitudes. And guess what?  Getting out of the office really works!

UPDATE: I received an offer by email today (5/17/05). For only $975 (only $825 if you're an IMPACT member) per web/phone connection you can attend three web seminars that will provide an overview and action steps, along with three action periods (presumably where you go off and do your own thing). And what concepts are these, you may ask?

In a recent article, The Effect of Executive Walk Rounds on Nurse Safety Climate Attitudes: A Randomized Trial of Clinical Units published in BMC Health Services Research, the authors concluded that Leadership WalkRounds are a promising tool for improving safety climate and results. You can read this article and learn more about Leadership WalkRounds by visiting the Patient Safety topics area of our website www.ihi.org

Read the paper, this is not rocket science. There's nothing a consultant can tell you or do for you that you could not learn or do yourself provided you are willing to invest the time required. Some things consultants do take a lot of time and effort to learn, others are based on skills developed over the years. Some things are simple and easy. Certainly consulting can bring real value when focused on key activities delivered in a timely fashion. And fortunately for us consultants, the vast majority of your employees already have full time jobs, where the resources for special tasks and activities are not readily available.

But really, getting executives out of their office to walk around, ask questions about quality, and then take action does is part of what executives do! Isn't it?