By November 24, 2014 4 Comments Read More →

Reflections: If I Hadn’t Moved From Lean Manufacturing to Lean Healthcare

I just got back from Japan last night and I’m going to take it easy during this Thanksgiving week. Rest and family time are high priorities, of course, as I’m sure they are for many of you. I will be reflecting a lot on my trip and I’ll be writing more posts about the trip soon.

On Friday, LinkedIn published a piece I wrote for their series of articles on the theme of  “The Road Not Taken.” LinkedIn asked people to write about the “Plan B” that they maybe wish they had pursued. This was difficult for me, as I did pursue a Plan B – shifting from manufacturing to healthcare in 2005.

So, I wrote a piece that imagined what I might think if I had stayed in manufacturing.

Click here or on the image below for the piece:

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 4.05.16 PM

Do you have a career “Plan B?” What is it or what would it be?


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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4 Comments on "Reflections: If I Hadn’t Moved From Lean Manufacturing to Lean Healthcare"

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  1. Dean Bliss says:

    I often think about how things would have been different had I not gone into healthcare back in 2005. I think I helped many healthcare organizations start down the path of continuous improvement, and I think there has been a positive impact on patient satisfaction and patient safety in many of those cases. My 9 years in healthcare also helped me grow as a professional and as a person. I’ve now moved on to financial services, but I’d like to think I helped the cause of improving healthcare in the U.S.

  2. Dean Bliss says:

    Thank you, but not necessary, Mark. Those of us who were early to the healthcare party made plenty of mistakes, but being humble and being willing to learn the business before trying to make big sweeping changes helped me get there. I think healthcare is appraching the stage that manufacturing was in a few years ago where the way to apply the tools and philosophy is becoming known, but the willingness of leadership to take the chance and change how they lead is becoming the biggest barrier to success.

  3. Jose Perez says:

    It’s good that you move from manufacturing. No matter what changes we implement, it’s almost impossible to compete with labor costs, and management will likely always choose the latter. After I was laid off, the unemployment office suggested to study something different to move away from manufacturing. It’s sad because as one teacher told us, it’s our job to keep manufacturing here in the United States; however, the people who have the strings to do that, prefer the easy fixes.

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