Funny Kaizen Cartoon from Lean Pathways


I feel like a lazy blogger posting cartoons and links to videos, but this latest “Lean Laughs” cartoon from Pascal Dennis and the team at Lean Pathways had to be shared (with their permission).

It's a perfect illustration of how staff-driven “kaizen” ideas can be intentionally (or more-often unintentionally) sub-optimizing. This highlights the important role of managers and leaders in working TOGETHER with front-line staff to make sure continuous improvement ideas are aligned with the big picture and with customer/patient needs. This is one of the themes in my upcoming book Healthcare Kaizen: Engaging Front-Line Staff in Sustainable Improvements.

Previous cartoons can be viewed on the Lean Pathways blog.

Can you think of “kaizen” examples that didn't really help the overall team or the bigger system you were working in? What can you do to make sure everybody “on the boat” is aligned?


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

1 Comment
  1. Robert Drescher says

    Hi Mark

    The cartoon is funny, but it shows what happens if Kaizen is implemented without leadership approval, or without all those involved and affected being included.

    This happens often when leadership plays favourites in an organization and allows those favourites to abuse the rest of the employees.

    To me it speaks of our lack of true honest leadership, when any thing happens that intentionally effects other negatively. If those types of changes are allowed it shows that leadership does not respect others, but is only playing friends with a few.

    These types of actions are very destructive I can see a local school having big problems soon because their new principal is playing favourites with an unqualified teacher.

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