t’s no secret; I’m a fan of Thanksgiving. For the past 5 years I have had the joy of hosting over 40 friends and family members for the annual “Friendsgiving” dinner feast. Thanks to my handy Friendsgiving dinner process map, it’s been a flawless delivery. However 2020 has brought challenges to this large gathering and I’m rethinking both how and what I am going to do for this year’s celebration. Luckily this is what I have been trained to do.
I’m bringing out my improvement methodology and avoiding solution jumping. So how can I still host a COVID-safe gathering rather than cancelling Friendsgiving?
Start with a SMART goal/problem statement
I’m creating a measurable SMART goal statement to give me a directional compass and an indicator of my project interventions:
Thanksgiving 2020 goal statement: Host a Friendsgiving gathering in November 2020 to for friends and family with 0% COVID spread.
(A problem statement is also a good idea.)
Analyze the situation
Baseline analysis and investigation tells us 1) what do our customers/patients/guests want, 2) if anyone else has done work on the problem(s), 3) where to focus our efforts (aka limited resources such as time).
#1: What do my guests want? What is the voice of the customer (VOC)? By starting first with the VOC, I know whether my efforts will be well received or in vain. I called up some friends and family that traditionally attend with three questions:
- Would you be interested in doing something for friendsgiving this year?
- How would you like to attend?
- What would make you feel safe/mitigate the risk of spread?
I listened to what they said and what they needed is to feel safe. I made some graphs to use in steps 2 and 3:
#3: Where do I focus my efforts? Based on the benchmarking and the VOC, I’m going to direct my attention on how to develop my new Friendsgiving process. In my implementation, I will include the best practice guidelines and optional virtual gathering.
Formulate the plan
I need to take my findings and make a cohesive plan that I can execute. This will include a communication plan to the guests on what to expect and the roles they will play:
- If community spread is over 20% or if mandate prohibits the gathering, it will switch completely to a virtual plan.
- The event will have two components: Virtual and in-person gatherings
NOTE: With infection rates currently above 20% in my area, I'm planning on a virtual-only event this year. I'm providing in-person options if it's different for you.
One virtual event will occur:
Preparation for the event:
Prior to the event:
During the event:
Two In-person events will occur:
Prior to arrival:
During the event:
Execute the plan
I haven’t executed the plan—yet. I’m sure there are going to be some last-minute changes and unexpected challenges, but we are a team. We will work together to reach our goal of having a safe and enjoyable meal together.
Here's wishing you and yours a safe and happy Thanksgiving this year!