Your Lean Message to the Next President?


With election day tomorrow (find your voting location here), I'm reminded of a radio ad I heard a while back and never blogged about. The ad promoted some website where you could record a 30 second message to be sent to the next President.

It got me thinking — what message would a Lean thinker want to send to the next President? Try it out in the comments section here. Is your message different to a President Obama than it would be to a President McCain?

If this turns into partisan name calling instead of “what would you tell the President about Lean?” then I'll shut the comments down… but let's see how this goes.

I'd send a short message about Lean in healthcare (to either winner):

“Dear Mr President: Almost all of the discussion about health care in this country is about how to pay for it. I hope that you will direct the government to research and promote the use of Lean methods to improve the quality and delivery of health care.

We can make great strides in reducing cost, improving quality, and saving lives if we help spread the method used by Johns Hopkins, ThedaCare, Virginia Mason, the University of Michigan, and so many others.

We have to do more than just talking about how to pay for it or how to arbitrarily cut prices, without cutting the real underlying costs…. we need to reduce “waste” in healthcare. That's my plea to you, Mr. President.”

Now you give it a try — what would you say about Lean for the sake of American manufacturing? The economy as a whole? Healthcare?

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. I’m suprised to see the comments on this empty, given the passion around the election.

    If I had one message for either candidate, it would be a reminder to go to the source for the answer. Don’t try to solve health care (or the budget, energy or civil defense) sitting in a planning room in Washington. Go out and talk with the AMA, nurses, patients, medical schools (or the equiavalent SMEs for other topics) to find real answers.

    And leave the lobbyists at home.


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