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Author Archive: Mark Graban

Mark Graban founded LeanBlog.org in January 2005. He is the primary blogger and managing editor of the site.

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A Visit to Franciscan St. Francis Health: A Workforce “Unleashed” by Kaizen

A Visit to Franciscan St. Francis Health: A Workforce “Unleashed” by Kaizen

Last week, I had the opportunity to spend a day with my Healthcare Kaizen co-author Joe Swartz and his colleagues at one of the three hospitals in the Franciscan St. Francis Health system. It was my second visit and, like the first, it reinforced my view that a culture of continuous improvement really is possible […]

“Many hands make light work”

“Many hands make light work”

When considering what it takes to create “a culture of continuous improvement,” many people complain that they don’t have time. They don’t have time, as leaders, and their employees don’t have time. As I’ve asked before, are they making excuses or solving that problem to create time? Sometimes, a single manager tries to do too […]

By October 6, 2014 0 Comments Read More →
KaiNexus Education Video #10: Improving Communication

KaiNexus Education Video #10: Improving Communication

About two years ago, we produced some short two- to three-minute education videos about Lean, Kaizen, and continuous improvement for KaiNexus. These were intended as short coaching sessions that would be sent to our customers / users and we’ve also shared them publicly. Dr. Greg Jacobson and I re-shot these videos recently with a professional […]

By October 3, 2014 0 Comments Read More →
TV Ad for GE Capital Features a Lean Turnaround for a Factory

TV Ad for GE Capital Features a Lean Turnaround for a Factory

Thanks to my friend and former Toyota employee Karthik Chandramouli for noticing this commercial on TV. In the 60-second piece, GE highlights how their advisors helped a manufacturing company double efficiency by using Lean methods and by asking “the important question – why?” What happened? “Ideas for improvement started pouring out.” I was happy to […]

By October 2, 2014 1 Comments Read More →
Podcast #210 – Lean in Washington State Government

Podcast #210 – Lean in Washington State Government

MP3 File (run time 39:33) My guests today are Darrell Damron and Hollie Jensen and we’re talking about Lean in Washington state government. Darrell and Hollie are both state employees, serving in the role of Enterprise Lean Consultant within a team called “Results Washington.” I’ve seen them both present at a Lean Enterprise Institute summit and […]

By October 1, 2014 0 Comments Read More →
Great Lean Leader Interview Series at Shmula.com

Great Lean Leader Interview Series at Shmula.com

My friend Pete Abilla has started a nice series of “Lean Leadership Interviews” on his site, shmula.com. I enjoyed his most recent interview with Jeff Liker. I agree with Pete and Jeff in the assertion (shared by Mike Rother) that formal “root cause analysis” isn’t always needed, or might be overkill in some situations. We […]

By September 30, 2014 0 Comments Read More →
Safety is “always our top priority,” except when it isn’t… in football and hospitals

Safety is “always our top priority,” except when it isn’t… in football and hospitals

Although I’m a proud alum of Northwestern University, a former marching band member, and an ardent follower of our football team (as I’ve written about before), I grew up as a fan of the Michigan Wolverines and have many friends who are alumni. After watching NU shock Penn State on Saturday, I flipped over to […]

By September 29, 2014 7 Comments Read More →
Lean is a “Generic” Term for TPS (and The Toyota Way), Says Dan Jones

Lean is a “Generic” Term for TPS (and The Toyota Way), Says Dan Jones

People often say Lean is pretty simple (or that it’s just “common sense“). Yeah, some of the concepts are simple… but sometimes deceptively so. Or, we find that it’s easier to describe Lean (as a management system, a set of methods, and a culture) than it is to say how an organization should transform itself […]

By September 29, 2014 1 Comments Read More →
Is This Dilbert Really True?

Is This Dilbert Really True?

Thursday’s Dilbert (see the strip) starts with the “Pointy Haired Boss” asking Dilbert for his opinion on something. Dilbert responds with “studies show that if you ask for my opinion, I will no longer perceive you as a leader.” The cartoon isn’t footnoted and a bit of Google searching doesn’t pull up “studies.” Maybe I’m […]

By September 26, 2014 11 Comments Read More →
The Fallacy of Firing People to Fix Patient Safety

The Fallacy of Firing People to Fix Patient Safety

In a Lean culture, the mindset is that “problems are treasure” or “problems are gold.” By honestly identifying problems, we can solve problems and prevent them from occurring in the future. Problems in healthcare can include medication errors, laboratory specimen mixups, and other problems that can harm or kill patients. The stakes are high. Traditional […]

By September 25, 2014 7 Comments Read More →
“Lean Coffee” Topics for September 2014

“Lean Coffee” Topics for September 2014

As I blogged about last month, “Lean Coffee” is becoming a quarterly event for healthcare professionals here in San Antonio. We held a two-hour discussion this morning, with students, leaders, and Lean practitioners from a university MHA program and some local healthcare organizations. There’s now a landing page that’s the permanent home for Lean Coffee, […]

By September 24, 2014 0 Comments Read More →
Homer Simpson Does Some Kaizen at Home and a Gemba Walk at Work

Homer Simpson Does Some Kaizen at Home and a Gemba Walk at Work

Recently, while watching part of The Simpsons marathon that aired on FXX, I was inspired to write this post: “Proof That Nelson from The Simpsons is Not a Good Kaizen Coach.” That led Simon from Germany to point out a different episode where it seems like Homer does a “gemba walk” at the nuclear power plant […]

By September 23, 2014 0 Comments Read More →
“Healthy Debate” About Lean in Healthcare & Emergency Departments

“Healthy Debate” About Lean in Healthcare & Emergency Departments

I was recently interviewed by one of the reporters who put together this web article in Canada: “From the factory floor to the emergency department: Hospitals explore Lean method” The article highlights Lean success stories and it also raises some interesting challenges and data that question the approach. My friends at St. Boniface General Hospital […]

By September 22, 2014 5 Comments Read More →
Infographic on Emergency Department Crowding

Infographic on Emergency Department Crowding

Below is an infographic shared by the MHA program at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. There’s some interesting data there… my comments: The data on ED wait times shows only two data points (2003 and 2009). I’d like to see more data to draw a more valid conclusion about trends. It’s […]

By September 19, 2014 1 Comments Read More →
Podcast #209 – George Friesen, Lean, Kaizen, and Idea Boards

Podcast #209 – George Friesen, Lean, Kaizen, and Idea Boards

MP3 File (run time 33:39) My guest for episode #209 is George Friesen, Business Practice Leader for Lean Transformations in the Workforce Solutions Group at St. Louis Community College. In this episode, we talk about his early experiences at the GM/Toyota NUMMI plant, why candor and trust are so important in a Lean transformation, and how to engage […]

By September 18, 2014 0 Comments Read More →
Lean is Not About Cutting Costs; 2 Data Point Comparisons in EDs & the NFL

Lean is Not About Cutting Costs; 2 Data Point Comparisons in EDs & the NFL

Two pet peeves of mine are hearing people say things like “Lean is all about reducing waste” and or “Lean is all about cost cutting” (and thankfully others are also trying to dispel that myth). Another pet peeve is people drawing conclusions off of two data points, but we’ll come back to that later in […]

By September 17, 2014 2 Comments Read More →
New KaiNexus Education Videos – #9: Identify, Report, and Solve Small, Local Problems

New KaiNexus Education Videos – #9: Identify, Report, and Solve Small, Local Problems

About two years ago, we produced some short two- to three-minute education videos about Lean, Kaizen, and continuous improvement for KaiNexus. These were intended as short coaching sessions that would be sent to our customers / users and we’ve also shared them publicly. Dr. Greg Jacobson and I re-shot these videos recently with a professional […]

By September 16, 2014 0 Comments Read More →
Reflections on Almost 10 Years in Lean Healthcare

Reflections on Almost 10 Years in Lean Healthcare

I often get asked, “How did you get into healthcare?” I was working on a chapter for a Lean healthcare compilation book that’s being published in Holland and I wrote the following material that wasn’t the right fit for that chapter, but I wanted to share below: It has now been just about ten years […]

By September 15, 2014 6 Comments Read More →