Funny Kaizen Cartoon from Lean Pathways

I feel like a lazy blogger posting cartoons and links to videos, but this latest “Lean Laughs” cartoon from Pascal Dennis and the team at Lean Pathways had to be shared (with their permission).

It’s a perfect illustration of how staff-driven “kaizen” ideas can be intentionally (or more-often unintentionally) sub-optimizing. This highlights the important role of managers and leaders in working TOGETHER with front-line staff to make sure continuous improvement ideas are aligned with the big picture and with customer/patient needs. This is one of the themes in my upcoming book Healthcare Kaizen: Engaging Front-Line Staff in Sustainable Improvements.


Previous cartoons can be viewed on the Lean Pathways blog.

Can you think of “kaizen” examples that didn’t really help the overall team or the bigger system you were working in? What can you do to make sure everybody “on the boat” is aligned?


Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please scroll down to post a comment. Click here to receive posts via email.


Now Available – The updated, expanded, and revised 3rd Edition of Mark Graban’s Shingo Research Award-Winning Book Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement. You can buy the book today, including signed copies from the author.

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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 eBook 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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1 Comment on "Funny Kaizen Cartoon from Lean Pathways"

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  1. Hi Mark

    The cartoon is funny, but it shows what happens if Kaizen is implemented without leadership approval, or without all those involved and affected being included.

    This happens often when leadership plays favourites in an organization and allows those favourites to abuse the rest of the employees.

    To me it speaks of our lack of true honest leadership, when any thing happens that intentionally effects other negatively. If those types of changes are allowed it shows that leadership does not respect others, but is only playing friends with a few.

    These types of actions are very destructive I can see a local school having big problems soon because their new principal is playing favourites with an unqualified teacher.

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