Tag: Books

Parallels (and Differences) Between the Book “Traction” and Kaizen

Parallels (and Differences) Between the Book “Traction” and Kaizen

tractionWhen I recently did a Healthcare Kaizen workshop near Detroit, I invited an old friend of mine to attend as a guest. Marisa Smith, an entrepreneur and business owner in Ann Arbor, saw the connections between my Kaizen work and a book that she uses within her company and with her clients: Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.

I read the intro and jumped right to Chapter 6 on “The Issues Component.” There’s a lot that’s very similar to Kaizen and Lean… but a few key differences.

By February 4, 2014 0 Comments Read More →
Learn How to Read My Books for Just $5 to $15

Learn How to Read My Books for Just $5 to $15

My books are generally well reviewed, thankfully. But, I realize they aren’t inexpensive. The prices are set by my publisher and the prices were increased a few bucks for Lean Hospitals and Healthcare KaizenThe Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen was left untouched, thankfully.

I’m always happy when Amazon discounts the books from the list price. I really am. Sure, I make a few bucks from each book copy sold (it’s a far smaller cut than what the retailer and publisher take, trust me). As an author, I want these ideas to spread. That’s very important to me. More people reading my books also leads to speaking and consulting opportunities (which I’m very thankful for).

Did you know that renting the books through Amazon in the Kindle format is the least expensive way to read my books?

By January 7, 2014 2 Comments Read More →
Guest Post: Book Chapter on VIBCO and “Captain Karl”

Guest Post: Book Chapter on VIBCO and “Captain Karl”

Mark’s note: Today’s guest post is an excerpt from the book Remarkable by Toby LaVigne. Toby’s bio can be found at the bottom of this post. In this chapter from the book, Toby writes about a good friend of mine and of this blog – Karl Wadensten, the President of VIBCO. You can watch or listen to a podcast I did with Karl a few years back or listen to a public radio story about them

By Toby LaVigne:

As the founder of Lotus sports cars once said, “Add Lightness.” Lean is about “Adding Lightness,” which, as you know, is really not about “Adding” at all, but about SUBTRACTION. But subtraction is trickier than addition, especially in a society that loves its pills and bandaids. So how do you get employees who are continually soaking in the bandaid paradigm to shift their attention to subtraction?

The word that comes to mind is “Pull.” You can’t push water, and you can’t push people, but you can create a vacuum that draws them toward you. And that vacuum is something I call Remarkability. I’d like to offer this case study on Vibco from my book titled Remarkable as it paints a beautiful picture of the “Pull effect.”

The ‘Pull Effect’ leads people to embrace the challenge of transforming themselves from clock punchers to experts at “adding lightness.”

By December 16, 2013 0 Comments Read More →
Podcast #186 – Jon Miller, “Creating a Kaizen Culture”

Podcast #186 – Jon Miller, “Creating a Kaizen Culture”

MP3 File (run time 37:36)

millerMy guest for episode #186 is my friend Jon Miller, CEO of Kaizen Institute  and long-time blogger at Gemba Panta Rei. Today, we’re talking about his upcoming book, Creating a Kaizen Culture: Align the Organization, Achieve Breakthrough Results, and Sustain the Gains  (co-authored by Mike Wroblewski and Jamie Villafuerte. I can’t believe I haven’t had Jon on the show before… hopefully this won’t be the last time.

In this episode, we’ll talk about “artifacts” of a Kaizen culture and why core beliefs, including safety and security, are so important. What are some of the other core beliefs in a Kaizen culture? Why are some of these beliefs and behaviors “not natural Japanese behaviors” and what are the implications for those of us doing this in other countries?

For a link to this episode, refer people to  www.leanblog.org/186.

For earlier episodes, visit the  main Podcast page, w

By September 19, 2013 1 Comments Read More →
Now on Kindle: “The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen”

Now on Kindle: “The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen”

executive guide healthcare kaizen kindle

After the paperback release about two weeks ago, my latest book (co-authored with Joe Swartz),  The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen  is now available in Amazon’s Kindle format.  It’s currently only $16 to purchase.

It’s funny how the overall extended value stream (from the publisher’s process through Amazon’s) takes longer to get an electronic book to market than a physical printed book.

You can find other purchase options (including signed copies) through our website.

By September 7, 2013 0 Comments Read More →
What I’m Reading: “Little Bets”

What I’m Reading: “Little Bets”

little-bets-cover

I’ve recently been reading an enjoyable book by Peter Sims,  Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries.

The practice of Kaizen, of course, brings lots of small improvements. But, it’s often surprising how breakthrough ideas with a really impact come out of the process of identifying, exploring, implementing, and tweaking relatively small ideas. Read what I saw a Japanese hospital CEO say about this in a post from last year.

I’m not done with the book yet, but I wanted to share a few tidbits and things that stood out to me.

By August 22, 2013 0 Comments Read More →
Highlights & Notes from “The Essential #Deming”

Highlights & Notes from “The Essential #Deming”

demingI was fortunate to be exposed to the writings of W. Edwards Deming before I even learned about Lean. While I sometimes get tired of reading new books on Lean and Toyota, I never tire of revisiting books  by or videos featuring Dr. Deming. A few years back, I again re-read big chunks of “Out of the Crisis” and blogged about it here and here.

There’s a timeless wisdom in what he said – and we’re reminded of his work when exposed to people like my podcast guests Alfie Kohn, Dan Pink, Mike Micklewright, Samuel Culbert, Clare Crawford-Mason, Mike Stoecklein, and John Hunter.

We get to revisit Deming’s wisdom in the recently published book “The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality.”

Podcast #174 – John Hunter, “Management Matters”

Podcast #174 – John Hunter, “Management Matters”

MP3 File (run time 37:46)

john_hunter_tent_rocks_NMMy guest for podcast #174 is John Hunter, a long-time friend and fellow blogger – at his Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog and, more recently, as a blogger for the W. Edwards Deming Institute. John has recently published a book through LeanPub.com titled “Management Matters.”

In this episode, John joins us from Malaysia, where he has been living, and we talk about his quality background – growing up in Madison, Wisconsin, influenced by his dad (William Hunter), Brian Joiner, George Box, Dr. Deming, and others. John also talks about his book and work, why long-term thinking is such a rare commodity, and some of the lessons from Dr. Deming that mean the most to him.

For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/174.

For earlier episodes, visit the main Podcast page, which

April Fool: Announcing my Next #Lean Book Project – Baby’s First Lean Book

April Fool: Announcing my Next #Lean Book Project – Baby’s First Lean Book

bookAfter the nice response to Lean Hospitals and  Healthcare Kaizen, I often get asked, “So, what’s your next book going to be?” (other than the upcoming  Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen, that is).

I’ve had people suggest writing something about Lean in ambulatory care and outpatient clinic settings. Or maybe an introductory Lean book for another industry.

What I’ve decided to work on (and have already written, actually) might surprise you. But, I think you’ll like it. And your kids will like it too!

Start 2013 with “The Spirit of Kaizen”

Start 2013 with “The Spirit of Kaizen”

The-Spirit-of-Kaizen-Maurer-Bob-9780071796170As we enter the new year, it’s a great time to reflect back on 2012 – what worked and what didn’t work… what do we plan to do differently in 2013? Those are some of the core questions found on a “strategy A3” as often used in the Lean methodology.

Individuals and organizations often try to find one major improvement – a “home run,” if you will. Someone might say, “I want to lose 50 pounds” or “we need to develop a new product that doubles revenue.” Goals like that might be scary… and for good reason, as described in the new book by Robert Maurer, PhD: “The Spirit of Kaizen: Creating Lasting Excellence One Small Step at a Time.”

There’s one action that can lead to lots of little improvements (and, eventually, to innovation) – the adoption of the “kaizen” mindset.

By December 31, 2012 7 Comments Read More →
Podcast #158 – Art Byrne, “The Lean Turnaround”

Podcast #158 – Art Byrne, “The Lean Turnaround”

MP3 File  (run time 32:20)

My guest for podcast #158 is Art Byrne, author of the new book The Lean Turnaround: How Business Leaders Use Lean Principles to Create Value and Transform Their Company. Art is very well known in the Lean community for his successful run as CEO of Wiremold, having previously worked at GE and Danaher.  He is currently Operating Partner at the private equity firm J. W. Childs Associates L.P. In this podcast, Art talks about operations improvement as a business strategy, why the CEO needs to be directly involved in a Lean transformation, why “stretch goals” aren’t demoralizing when you have the right leadership and culture, and more.

Click here for a link to video of the Virginia Mason Medical Center visit to Wiremold over 10 years ago, as mentioned by Art (video via Bob Emiliani).

By September 28, 2012 3 Comments Read More →
Podcast #154 – Rick Morrow, Process Improvement in Healthcare

Podcast #154 – Rick Morrow, Process Improvement in Healthcare

MP3 File  (run time 27:01)

My guest for episode #154 is Rick Morrow, a director at Healthcare Performance Partners and author of the book Utilizing the 3Ms of Process Improvement in Healthcare: A Roadmap to High Reliability Using Lean, Six Sigma, and Change Leadership, from Productivity Press (which is my publisher, as well). We talk about the book as well as a favorite issue of mine – why we shouldn’t ask patients to inspect the work of healthcare providers.

You can learn more about the book and interact with Rick at his website.

ADVERTISEMENT: This podcast episode is brought to you by Creative Safety Supply, leaders in Visual Safety, floor marking, label printing and more. Visit their website at

Podcast #151 – Karen Martin, “The Outstanding Organization”

Podcast #151 – Karen Martin, “The Outstanding Organization”


MP3 File  (run time 24:06)

Joining me for episode #151 is my friend Karen Martin, talking about her newly-released book The Outstanding Organization: Generate Business Results by Eliminating Chaos and Building the Foundation for Everyday Excellence. Karen is the founder of Karen Martin & Associates and she is previously the co-author of  The Kaizen Event Planner: Achieving Rapid Improvement in Office, Service, and Technical Environments.

FastCompany.com has an excerpt from The Outstanding Organization here.

For a link to this ep

New Book by @PaulFLevy – “Goal Play!” with Lessons for Healthcare

New Book by @PaulFLevy – “Goal Play!” with Lessons for Healthcare

Paul Levy, the former CEO of Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, is a long time friend of mine and this blog (read his ongoing blog here although he’s no longer “Running a Hospital”). I’ve been meaning to blog about it for a while… it’s still a relatively new book that Paul has published (a few months ago) called Goal Play!: Leadership Lessons from the Soccer Field  (available in paperback and Kindle formats).

Paul weaves together management lessons from his previous industries, including government and healthcare, with lessons from coaching youth soccer.Books like this run the risk of being corny in making analogies between sports and something in work life, but the girls’ soccer analogies are used smartly to tee up the points of each chapter — I’ve really enjoyed reading his book.

Podcast #150 – Jeffrey Lobosky, MD, “It’s Enough to Make You Sick”

Podcast #150 – Jeffrey Lobosky, MD, “It’s Enough to Make You Sick”

MP3 File (run time 22:18)

My guest for episode #150 is Jeffrey M. Lobosky, MD, the author of the book It’s Enough to Make You Sick: The Failure of American Health Care and a Prescription for the Cure. Dr. Lobosky talks about what he thinks is lacking in current healthcare reform efforts driven by Washington D.C. We talk about how he defines the crisis in healthcare – “why are things going bad?” After we diagnose the problem, what are some treatments, cures, or solutions?

For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/150/.

About Dr. Lebosky:

Jeffrey M. Lobosky M.D. was awarded his B

Guest Post: Book Review – “Adventures in Leanland”

Guest Post: Book Review – “Adventures in Leanland”

Mark’s note: While I am busy in “moving land” this week, Christina Kach was kind enough to write a review of a book that was sent to me –  Adventures in Leanland  by Russell Watkins (a free copy was provided for review). The book was published through Lulu and you can also buy it there.  Russell Watkins is a director of Sempai Consultancy Services, a business formed to assist organisations that are serious about improving the short and long-term performance of their business.

Review: Adventures in Leanland

Dictionary.com has 4 definitions listed for “Adventure”

New eBook Compilation – Lean Blog: Sports

New eBook Compilation – Lean Blog: Sports

Being a big fan of what the guys at LeanPub are doing (listen to my podcasts with them here and here), I created a new compilation of sports-related posts from my blog dating back to 2005. The book is not-so-creatively titled:

Lean Blog: Sports –  Lean Concepts in Sports and Lean Lessons from Sports.

I’ll share a bit in this post about the process and the book…

New Lean Blog Charity Auctions – Great Books on #Lean, #Quality, #Deming!

New Lean Blog Charity Auctions – Great Books on #Lean, #Quality, #Deming!

Update 5/1/12 – more auctions!

Back in October, we raised about $1000 for Friends of the Orphans through a charity auction, for which authors and publishers generously donated books.

Now, I’m happy to present another auction that comes as a result of me “5S-ing” my home office as my wife and I prepare for our move to San Antonio. I had duplicate copies of many great books – some due to getting a free review copy from a publisher and some due to me “losing” the book and re-purchasing it (I know, tsk tsk, not very Lean of me).

I’m auctioning some great sets (batches?) of books – they all end roughly 10 PM EDT on Sunday May 6.  I will donate free standard shipping for U.S.-based winners. If you want expedited U.S. shipping or any form international shipping, I’d ask that you pay the actual cost.

Here are the auction details: