By December 3, 2010 3 Comments Read More →

Podcast #105 – Bill Waddell & Adam Zak, “Simple Excellence”

Podcast #105 is a conversation with the co-authors of the new book Simple Excellence: Organizing and Aligning the Management Team in a Lean Transformation from Productivity Press. They are Adam Zak, a regular guest blogger here on and Lean-focused executive recruiter and Bill Waddell, a Lean consultant and frequent blogger over at

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MP3 File (run time 26:01)


Here, we talk about their book and their thoughts on Lean leadership, talent development, and other topics. Also, here is Matt May’s review of Simple Excellence and the official book website is here.

To point others to this episode, use the simple URL:

For earlier episodes, visit the main Podcast page, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS or via Apple iTunes.

You can use the player (use the VCR-type controls) at the top of the post to listen to a “streaming” version of the podcast (or click here for the streaming audio and RSS subscription). The streaming link is faster for one-time listening (hardly any delay to start listening). Or you can use the download link to put it on your iPod or other MP3 player.

If you have feedback on the podcast, or any questions for me or my guests, you can email me at or you can call and leave a voicemail by calling the “Lean Line” at (817) 776-LEAN (817-776-5326) or contact me via Skype id “mgraban”. Please give your location and your first name. Any comments (email or voicemail) might be used in follow ups to the podcast.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please scroll down to post a comment. Click here to be notified about posts via email. Learn more about Mark Graban’s speaking, writing, and consulting.

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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3 Comments on "Podcast #105 – Bill Waddell & Adam Zak, “Simple Excellence”"

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  1. Good podcast, packed a lot of information into 24 minutes.

    I question one point when Bill said that sales needed to be the Voice of the Customer. I think that is one of the stumbling blocks in applying Lean to sales. A statement like that can be perceived by sales and also many “change agents” to mean that they become the data collection arm of the organization (not that Bill meant that).

    The Voice of Customer through sales alone can be somewhat distorted. Just sit in a meeting with your salespeople and ask them to all write down the company’s value proposition for a certain product/market. Value is an input to your company not an output. Voice of Customer and Voice of Market needs to be derived from customers and non-customers not internally. Sales probably have a better handle on it than anyone but sales is typically structured so that they are very tactically driven. A reason that will cause this not to happen.

    Sorry to dwell on that 30 second clip of a great 30 minute podcast. Thanks to Bill and Adam for writing such a solid book and providing a great basis for not so much at how Lean can be applied but how Lean can assist your thoughts to Simple Excellence.

  2. Mike Santarelli says:

    I highly recommend this book and think highly of the content. I picked this gem up and practically read it cover-to-cover, finding it hard to put down. For a long time I’ve been looking for good ideas/advice for better leading and influencing management to help bring about lean/flow/excellence in the organization. Well, this book fills a massive void and I can’t but help obsessing over it, picking up again and again. Thank you!

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