#TBT: Posts from This Week in Lean Blog History

throwback thursday lean blogI often like to look back at posts from a particular date (or nearby dates) from the past 11 years of Lean Blogging… so here goes with some posts from roughly May 12th in different years…

From May 11, 2015:

Not What We Mean by Celebrating Failures [Dilbert 5/7/15]

“In an organization, whether it’s a factory or a hospital, if you punish failures, you’re going to make people very risk averse, which then limits the amount of improvement that you’ll see. A leader’s role is to encourage people to try more improvements, but we shouldn’t give people carte blanche to do reckless or irresponsible things.”

From May 11, 2014:

Blame: Human Error Occurs Even IF We’re Being Careful

“Human error is GOING to happen, because we are fallible. That’s why we need good systems, tools, and processes and we can’t just ask people to “be more careful” and we can’t just blame them after an error occurs.”

From May 13, 2013:

Dr. Deming’s “Role of a Manager of People”

“I like how Deming emphasizes the understanding of benefits to ALL the “organization deals with.” This would include customers, employees, suppliers, the community – a similarly broad focus that Toyota takes in describing their “respect for people” principle.”

From May 14, 2012 (I wonder how this is working for them):

All Saudi hospitals to report serious errors online

“All hospitals in the Kingdom, whether government or private, will have to report online any serious medical error, said Health Minister Abdullah Al-Rabeeah yesterday at the launch of his ministry’s electronic portal for health services.”

From May 12, 2011:

As Seen on TV: Random Lean Terms in Commercials

“One commercial featured the term “mistake proofed” and another used the term “right-sized.” Let’s talk about the terms and what they mean.”

From May 13, 2010:

These Primary Care Improvements Don’t Sound “Mean” to Me

“Here’s yet another article with the lazy “Lean and Mean” cliche’ in the headline: “Make Your Physician Practice a Lean, Mean Healing Machine.” Real Lean isn’t mean toward patients or staff or physicians. It’s a shame the headline had to “go there” since it’s a good read otherwise.”

From May 14, 2009:

Doofus and Leanie Cartoon #2 – No Blame

From May 13, 2008:

Starbucks Sign Displays Their Supply Chain

“Would Starbucks so openly display their slow supply chain if more customers knew that April 13 isn’t exactly “fresh roasted?” The bag was proudly labeled as “Freshly Scooped on May 10, by Chad.” Scooping isn’t exactly the “value added” step in that value stream. I guess if “freshly scooped” is all you have, then that’s what you brag about.”

From May 10, 2007 (I also wonder how this worked out for them):

We Need “Creativity Before Capital” in Hospitals

“The system also costs over $4 million dollars to implement (10 cabinets x $400,000 each). I wonder how much process improvement was attempted. I’m not opposed to technology, but systems like this are often sold as a silver bullet.”

From May 13, 2006:

Continuous “Improvment”

Find Jobs – Senior Specialist Continuous Improvment

As a far-too-frequent flyer on American, I can tell you first hand that they need continuous improvement. It always cracks me up when I see typos in quality related items, as with the job posting linked to above.

From May 6, 2005:

Seven Deadly Sins of Quality (and Lean)

“I like the way the author says to keep asking “why” (five times) until you find something that is “embarrassing to the organization”, but not so far that you go “into theology”. I always said that with the “6th why”, you just end up blaming society, and that isn’t helpful!”


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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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