John Toussaint on Shifting from White Coat Leadership


Here is a short video clip from 2009… Dr. John Toussaint talking about the need to shift away from “White Coat Leadership” to Lean Leadership.

He's still preaching this message as we try getting more healthcare leaders, physicians or non-physicians, to realize that culture change starts by looking in the mirror.

Click on the image below the video for a large view of John's comparison between the leadership styles.

Are your leaders aware of this change or the need to change?

Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 8.14.08 PM

You can hear John speak at the upcoming Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit, June 5-6 in Orlando  — registration is now open.

Disclosure: I am receiving a free admission in exchange for moderating the CEO panel.

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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. Thanks for the post Mark. That was a great session on lean leadership. We are bringing a group, including senior leaders, from East Tennessee Children’s Hospital this year. I can’t wait to see what they bring back from the summit.

  2. A leader without followers is just somebody going for a walk. So if a “leader” wants “followers” to implement these principles, then the leader must implement them first. This is why we begin our work with a Partner organization by teaching the leadership the principles, and coaching them as they practice the techniques. We refer to it as “Top down, bottom up.” Leaders do, then empower/expect others to do, and hold them accountable for same.

    Good stuff Mark! Now go get you a heart-shaped steak for Valentine’s Day :-D


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