Back from Vacation (Mostly)


I'm back from vacation. My mind is still somewhat there after a full two weeks' away, the longest vacation I've ever taken. It's tough getting back on track (not to mention unburied from email after not really checking it). My wife and I are also back in Texas after our year in Boston while she was in graduate school, so lots of settling back in to be done.

Some of my friends doubted me, but I stayed away from Twitter, blogging, and other social media for two weeks. I rarely checked email. It was nice… but tough to get back into the swing of things.

Thanks so much to my guest bloggers for the last 17 days. Thanks to Mike Lombard for moderating comments while I was away so I had nothing to worry about. I'll post a podcast tomorrow and will get back to blogging for real after the 4th.

Vacation got off to an inauspicious start… I'll blame it on this tweet from a friend in the Lean Healthcare world:

@SunsetWheatFan @markgraban Have a good vacation Mark and try not let the inefficient processes u see ruin your vacation :)

With that, my wife and I proceeded to lose our suitcases. Well, actually American Airlines lost them. Well no, American blamed it on Iberia Airlines with our connection in Madrid. Either way, we didn't get our suitcases until Day 5 of our vacation. It wasn't just the initial mishandling of the bags that was frustrating, but more so the promises and commitments that weren't followed through on in the process (and I use term “process” loosely in this case) of getting the bags back to us.

Lesson learned — follow the Rick Steves' advice of only packing 5 days worth of clothes, regardless of how long your trip is, so you can just carry on. Thankfully, we had one carry on with a day's worth of clothes, but we did have to shop for a few things, which was a “non-value-added” part of the time in Italy.

But mostly it was a relaxing two weeks… not thinking about Lean much, other than pondering a few big picture issues, but vacation was mainly about vacation – a good thing. I didn't visit the “birth of Lean” Venice shipyard, or anything like that. I spent more time exploring my other passion — cooking — than I did doing anything Lean.

Thanks for hanging with me and the Lean Blog during my time away. I'll try to keep guest bloggers involved occasionally, as I like having other voices involved here and I learned a lot and was inspired by their thoughts and guest posts and I read them all before vacation. It's good to be back – recharged and ready to dive back into work and the blog.

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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. My main reading for the trip had nothing to do with Lean – a book about the financial meltdown, “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis, the author of “Moneyball,” a favorite book of mine.

    The Big Short was fascinating, but hardly an uplifting vacation tome. I might write a post about it, the book is a cautionary tale about many things, including the ability of an entire industry to share destructive groupthink that’s detached from any semblance of responsible reality.

    Amazon link:

    Has anyone else read it?

  2. Welcome back. I read The Big Short a while back and completely agree – really insightful and actually disturbing to those of us with some financial experience but not in the guts of the machine. Lots of business lessons, financial and otherwise.


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