Thanks to Sam Selay for today's guest post. Although he's writing about the government and the military, I think you'll find it interesting regardless of your industry. Read an excerpt from Sam's chapter of Practicing Lean.
Today's guest is Sam MacPherson (@LeanLeaderWay), the co-founder of the Lean Leadership Academy and the founder of The Summit on Lean Leadership, a partnership with Lean Frontiers...
Announcement: Dr. Greg Jacobson and I are doing a new webinar for KaiNexus on “More Leadership Behaviors That Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement‘” on January 27. It’s free… learn more and register here.
Lessons from the Football Coaching and Leadership Styles of the Oregon Ducks and Ohio State Buckeyes
Note: Today is the fifth anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. Russell Maroni’s journal from his volunteer work there, including some Lean concepts he employed, is still available. You can download a free PDF and I hope you’ll consider making a charitable contribution.
I saw this headline the other day: “U.S. Soldiers Get Just Four Hours of Ebola Training”
The phrase “just four hours” implies that it wasn’t enough. How do we know? Maybe four hours of training, done properly, is all that’s needed.
Look at the System, Not the Individuals
I’ve been wanting to blog about the “VA Scandal,” but have avoided it because
- it is somewhat politicized (as tends to happen),
- the allegations and story are moving quickly, and
- the whole thing just makes me sad, so I stop writing.
Building on Monday’s post… when the news first broke about scandals at the VA (the Veterans Health Administration), a lot of the focus was on “secret waiting lists” and individuals in Phoenix “gaming the system” (or fudging the numbers):
Today is Memorial Day, a U.S. holiday. It’s a day to honor those who have given their lives in military service.
Lately, the news has had many reminders about our need to provide better care to our living veterans through the overburdened Veterans Administration (VA) medical system.
Every once in a while, I have too many browser windows open and it slows my computer down. That’s when I dump a bunch of links in a post that clears out the Lean Blog backlog.
Dan Markovitz had a thought provoking post called “How not to build a kaizen culture in three easy steps,” where he sadly describes what his wife is facing with with what they call “kaizen” in her hospital. It sounds more L.A.M.E. than Lean. He also shares examples of places that are doing better.
Today is Veterans Day in the U.S. and it’s also Remembrance Day in Canada, the UK, and the Commonwealth countries. The poppy pin is worn as a symbol of Remembrance Day (as I wore, at left, last week while in Scotland and England on vacation).
Thanks and an enormous debt of gratitude are owed to those who have given their lives in military service.
Sadly, we still have many problems in getting timely veterans’ health benefits to retired and living U.S. servicemen and servicewomen, as I’ve often highlighted here on this day. The best opportunities, I think, for the use of Lean methods in government is to reduce the time spent waiting for access to services that members of our armed forces have earned.
MP3 File (run time 31:45)
Episode #134 is a different topic than usual. Instead of strictly talking Lean, today’s discussion is about broader issues of healthcare quality and our United States military. Joining me are Daniel Sullivan, President and General Manager of the The Sergeant Thomas Joseph Sullivan Center (SSC), a non-profit organization that is dedicated to improving health outcomes for current and former military personnel, especially those who are suffering from emerging, complicated, or currently unexplained post deployment health concerns. Named in honor of a fallen marine, the Sgt. Sullivan Center promotes the health security of America’s troops and the principle that none should be left behind. Also joining us is Gregory Jacobson, MD, a college friend of Daniel’s and the co-founder and CEO of KaiNexus, also a board member of the Center.
The Sergeant Sullivan Center is named for Daniel’s brother, Sergeant Thomas Joseph Sullivan, a veteran of the Iraq war, who died suddenly in his northern Virginia home at age 30, four years after returning from deployment. With his medical problems originating during his deployment in Iraq and continuing in the years following his return home, Sgt. Sullivan suffered a progression of unexplained health complications that included chronic pain, swelling, cardiovascular disease, and severe inflammation. His autopsy revealed life threatening problems that medical tests had not detected.
Today would have been St. Sullivan’s 32nd birthday, so I am sharing his story here.
For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/134.
More About the Sergeant Sullivan Center:
The “Strong America Now” initiative has proposed there are opportunities to save $500 BILLION a year from our U.S. federal government budget by using Lean and Six Sigma methods (I interviewed Mike George, the founder of the campaign here in a podcast). As an outsider, I’d believe that the OPPORTUNITY is there for such savings, but is it really POSSIBLE, with the government culture of “use it or lose it” budgets and internal politics?
That’s one reason I don’t get super jazzed up when it seems the “Lean Six Sigma for Government” movement seems to be focused so much on cost reduction. I understand the need for cost reduction, trust me, but can a Lean focus on time and quality lead to cost reduction and other important results?
I know about 35% of you are reading from outside of the United States, but it is a national holiday here today, Memorial Day. It is a day to remember those who gave their lives in service to their country and for the cause of freedom around the world.
For those of you who are interested, I’ll share a few links to Lean and Six Sigma efforts in the United States military:
A few days ago, as I was glued to the coverage of Osama Bin Laden’s death and the implications around the world, I was also writing a draft of an article about “waste” and Lean healthcare for a magazine… thoughts got somewhat intertwined and I had a few ideas about how the hunt for Bin Laden was like our hunt for waste in the workplace.
Three main points:
- Waste is often hiding in plain sight
- Waste often seems painfully obvious once it has been pointed out
- Leaders often deny that they knew the waste was there the whole time
I was at the annual HIMSS Conference yesterday, as a guest of the software company FormFast, giving short 10-minute talks about Lean Healthcare to audiences at their booth. It’s fair to say that it’s 10x harder to give a succinct 10-minute Lean intro talk than it is to give a 60-minute overview. There’s a lot you’d like to cover, but time constraints force you to keep it simple, especially for IT folks who are generally very new to Lean.
I met a lot of interesting people though. Those most knowledgable about Lean came from the military – Air Force, Army, or D.O.D. medicine. That was a clear trend. And one of them gave me the best business card ever.
I had a very full, interesting week – giving a well-received talk about Lean Healthcare at the Ontario Hospital Association convention, spending a day with a hospital east of Toronto, and hearing some thought provoking speakers in Toronto and back in Cambridge.
Like many, I closely followed the recent pirate seizure of the Maersk ship with the American crew and was happy when the captain was free by the U.S. Navy. I wondered how a tiny boat with four pirates could board and overtake a huge ocean container ship.