As the 3rd edition of my book Lean Hospitals is starting to ship, I’m having some great conversations with people about the “State of Lean Healthcare” in 2016 (as much as one can generalize). Two of those conversations about the book and Lean healthcare will released as podcast episodes through the Gemba Academy Podcast and the Lean Leadership Podcast. Those episodes should be available soon, but you can subscribe to their podcasts to be notified.
One reflection is about the role of executives and the CEO. Culture change starts from the top. Safety can’t be delegated, quality can’t be delegated, Lean can’t be delegated. The most successful Lean healthcare examples out there are in systems where the CEO didn’t just “sponsor” or “support” Lean — they’ve participated directly and that means leading by example. It doesn’t just mean participating in “Rapid Improvement Events” once a year… it means getting out of the office and practicing Lean leadership behaviors and styles.
How does a CEO learn? I’d argue they need a good coach (such as a trusted board member or a local CEO from the business community). One way to start learning though is to read… and I’d hope more CEOs would read my book. It’s great that nurses read it and improvement specialists or “Lean geeks” read it… but I think we’d all agree that “quality starts in the boardroom” (as Dr. Deming said) and Lean starts with the CEO.
Here’s my offer: I want to send your CEO a free copy of my book if you can make a compelling argument about how the book would be helpful, how the book would be used, and the likelihood of it being read.
I know CEOs are busy, so I’ll put together a “CEO Reading Guide” that suggests particular excerpts and pages to read that might be most meaningful, including quotes and stories from other leaders.
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