Lean is Patient, Lean is Kind


Screen Shot 2013-03-18 at 8.40.54 PM

Today I'm linking to a guest post that I wrote for my friend Marc Rouppe van der Voort who works at St. Elisabeth Hospital (Tilburg, Netherlands) and has a blog in Dutch (with auto Google translation). Marc used to maintain a separate blog in English  (which he stopped because Google does such a good job he can blog just in Dutch… a Kaizen opportunity he took advantage of).

I've written before about my admiration for the St. Elisabeth philosophy of “loving care,” which is supported by Lean. Marc asked me to write a post with my thoughts on the subject.

Gastblog van Mark Graban: Loving Care  (in English)

In the post, I take what Christina Kach did one step further by thinking of the entire Corinthians passage from the Bible (the one often used at weddings) that starts with “Love is patient, love is kind.”

In the post for Marc, I re-wrote it with the word “respect” as that's more acceptable in the workplace than the word “love” would be (even in a platonic sense)… even though Dr. Stephen Covey told me when I interviewed him that “respect for people” (as Toyota would say) means that we are caring toward others.

For this blog, I'm re-writing it again with the word “Lean” in place of “love.” I think it works beautifully (and accurately):

“Lean is patient, Lean is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Lean does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

You can read my entire guest post for Marc here. Feel free to comment there or here.

The adapted quotation works when an organization is practicing “real Lean” (as Bob Emiliani calls it) and not “fake Lean” (his term) or L.A.M.E. (my term).

What do you think? Please scroll down (or click) to post a comment. Or please share the post with your thoughts on LinkedIn – and follow me or connect with me there.

Did you like this post? Make sure you don't miss a post or podcast — Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.

Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

Get New Posts Sent To You

Select list(s):
Previous articlePodcast #168 – Carolyn McCulley, “Breaking the Wall of Silence”
Next articleWhat is Your Health System Doing to Reduce Costs? Process Improvement or Layoffs?
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 recently was a guest presenter on Lean Management at a Process Excellent Summit by World Vision in Kenya. The Devotion we did at the beginning of the Summit was on 1 Corinthians 12:3-8a (love is patient love is kind), the group was asked how this passage of scripture related to continuous improvement. It was fantastic. I strongly recommend using this scripture when trying to embrace Christian organizations on adopting Lean Thinking.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.