IHI Framework for Leadership for Improvement

Innovation Series: Seven Leadership Leverage Points for Organization-Level Improvement in Health Care (Second Edition). IHI. 2008

Leadership models and frameworks can provide a roadmap for leaders to think about how to do their work, improve their organizations, learn from improvement projects, and design leadership development programs. The core of the comprehensive IHI (Institute for Healthcare Improvement) strategic improvement framework is Will, Ideas, and Execution3: in order to get organization-level results, leaders must develop the organizational will to achieve them, generate or find strong enough ideas for improvement, and then execute those ideas—make real improvements, spread those improvements across all areas that would benefit, and sustain the improvement over time. And when this Will-Ideas-Execution framework is fully fleshed out with the addition of two other core components, “Set Direction” and “Establish the Foundation,” 24 specific elements emerge into an overall leadership system for improvement called the IHI Framework for Leadership for Improvement (see below).


Leaders can be daunted by the breadth and depth of this sort of comprehensive model. Even though the 24 individual elements are quite clear, many of them are still fairly broad in scope (e.g., “Plan for Improvement” or “Review and Guide Key Initiatives”). So leaders often look at comprehensive models such as this and ask questions such as “But how exactly do I ‘Plan for Improvement’ or ‘Review and Guide Key Initiatives’?”


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