What I’m Reading 8/29/13: Forcing Happiness, Saving $$ By Not Using Your Health Insurance, and More


books in a stack (a stack of books)As we move into the Labor Day weekend, I need to close some browser tabs that are full of things that I was maybe going to write about, but don't merit a full post. So, the latest in my “What I'm Reading” series:

How to Disarm a Nasty Co-Worker: Use a Smile (WSJ):  I think when we have “nasty” or “venting” co-workers or employees, we should work hard to understand the system. We should ask “why are nurses frustrated?” rather than just telling the nurses to not complain about doctors or problems. Staff engagement is really important and I think we should create a workplace that people can enjoy being a part of. But, I agree with a quote in the story, “It is your job as a manager to get at truth and excellence, not to make people happy.” We can't force people to be nice, but maybe we can create conditions where they are less stressed and more likely to be nice. Look at the system issues.

Jeffrey Singer: The Man Who Was Treated for $17,000 Less” (WSJ): I know WSJ has a paywall, but you can maybe find a free version by going a Google search for the article title. This article talks about a patient whose doctor figured out that a patient with a high-deductible insurance plan could actually SAVE money by having surgery as a self-pay, uninsured patient because the hospital would then offer a lower price. This illustrates the silly disconnects between price and value in healthcare. “Most people these days don't have health “insurance.” They have prepaid health plans. They pay premiums to take advantage of a pre-negotiated fee schedule arranged for and administered by a third party.”

Disruptive Innovators: Using aviator techniques in the hospital” (Healthcare Finance News): “Lean may be the biggest craze these days in creating efficiencies in hospitals and health systems, but some facilities are having success with a process that got its start at NASA –  Crew resource management.”  I know the folks at LifeWings  and we're all in agreement that Lean and CRM are incredibly complementary approaches.

The etymological origin of lean” (RK2 Blog): I finally got a hold of a copy of John Krafcik's MIT Sloan Review article from 25 years ago, “The Triumph of the Lean Production System,” which was like pulling teeth from MIT. I'll be writing more about this soon. But this post delves into the original use of the term “fragile” instead of “lean” to describe Toyota's approach – which makes sense, but would have been a far worse label than “lean,” which is problematic, as it is.

The ABCs of Organizational Culture” (Gemba Panta Rei): A nice blog post from Jon Miller with some material that's in his upcoming book Creating a Kaizen Culture: Align the Organization, Achieve Breakthrough Results, and Sustain the Gains  – I have a podcast with him coming out soon. He references the great Ed Schein and how we need to look at “Core Beliefs,” not just “Behaviors” and “Artifacts” (or tools). Artifacts like an andon cord or an “idea board” are the result of shared beliefs and consistent behaviors that are practiced in the organization.

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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.



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