Mark Graban's leanblog.org - Lean Healthcare, Lean Hospitals, Healthcare Kaizen, Lean Thinking, Lean Manufacturing, Toyota Production System

2009 Management Improvement Carnival

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It's an honor to again contribute to John Hunter's amalgamated Management Improvement Blog Carnival. The main page is located here. Ten bloggers are each selecting a few favorite posts from their favorite blogs to highlight. It's quite a collection.

Dan Markovitz, of TimeBack Management, featured my blog and others in his post. Thanks! My selections follow a Boston theme, as I'm here at LEI while my wife is at MIT through June.

Running a Hospital

(Paul Levy, CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center)

Paul often blogs about Lean and their “SPIRIT” program, so I selected this post and its accompanying videos (“MICU's go Lean: Result = Happiness“) as staff members show up their improvements in materials management that save important time for staff, as he wrote “Beyond making each room more efficient, we wanted them to be identical because the same staff people work in the two units.”.

On a non-Lean subject, I admired Paul's post about why he doesn't block or ban use of social media sites for staff at BIDMC (“Shutting Down Social Media? Not Here“). I think Paul's decision shows he treats staff members like adults, as he wrote, in part, “Any form of communication (even conversations in the elevator!) can violate important privacy rules, but limiting people's access to social media in the workplace will mainly inhibit the growth of community and discourage useful information sharing.”

Chasing the Rabbit

(Steven Spear, author of “Chasing the Rabbit” and Senior Lecturer at MIT)

Steve often writes about healthcare including this piece that challenges what's still often seen as a series of tradeoffs in healthcare (“Can We Afford Quality in a Downturn? Can we not?!“). Steve answers his own question, by saying “For great organizations, the answer is not only “we can!” but also “we must!”   For others, there is hesitation and doubt.” Read the longer answer in his post.

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In an interview with Bloomberg Radio, Steve pointed out the flaw in “healthcare reform” (scare quotes mine) and posted about it (“Spear on Bloomberg: What's health care reform missing? Quality!“) and started by saying “We spend too much and get too little because patients and payers cannot distinguish good providers from bad.   This drives down quality and drives up cost-financial and human suffering.”

Gemba Coach

(Michael Balle, LEI Faculty Member and author of The Lean Manager)

One of my two French lean authors, Michael has   written about healthcare and nursing on my blog. He also maintains a blog through the Lean Enterprise Institute. In this Gemba Coach post (“How Do I Convince People to Practice Lean?“), Michael turns the question upside down and asks if you can do anything other than getting people to convince themselves to change.

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The topic of roadmaps often comes up in the Lean world, as people often want cookbooks and easy answers. People are often puzzled when Toyota people don't have one (“How Come Toyota Veterans Don't Use a Roadmap?“). In Michael's experience with Toyota people, “They claimed they were simply focusing on problems as they appeared. It took me years to actually accept what they were saying.”

John Shook's Management Column

(John Shook, LEI Senior Advisor and author of Managing to Learn)

The first American manager to work for Toyota in Japan, John Shook is a great teacher of the Toyota mindset. He's taken that teaching to Starbucks, of all places. After a report in the Wall Street Journal, John defended the efforts of Starbucks (“A Lean “Teachable Moment”: Starbucks in The Wall Street Journal“). He wrote, “Far from becoming robots, think of the best bartender or waiter/waitress you've ever seen. Remember marveling at how he or she could handle orders coming from all directions, without missing a beat. That's what Starbucks wants from its lean initiative.”

John also wrote about our friend Dr. Sami Bahri, the “Lean Dentist” (“A Trip to the Dentist That You'll Enjoy“). Of Sami, he wrote, “Today, Sami has some great advice for anyone looking to apply lean thinking to their business, especially anyone looking at application to a healthcare environment.”


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is an anthology titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

3 Comments
  1. […] Graban’s review took a Boston theme covering Chasing the Rabbit, Running a Hospital, Gemba Coach and John Shook’s Management Column. Highlights […]

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