Podcast #195 – Steve Montague, Lean + TeamSTEPPS for Patient Safety


Joining me for episode #195 is my friend Steve Montague from LifeWings. Steve and I met initially through our shared interest in Lean and, like Ron Pereira, we discovered we both lived in Keller, Texas (I've since moved to San Antonio).

Steve is a retired Navy pilot and currently flies for a major commercial airline. He's also been involved, through LifeWings, in the movement to bring aviation safety practices (and culture) to healthcare via “Crew Resource Management” or “TeamSTEPPS.” He's also been on the forefront of combining Lean and TeamSTEPPS, something we both agree is a great idea.

In honor of National Patient Safety Awareness Week, we talk about topics including:

  • Steve's background with CRM in aviation and healthcare
  • Why CRM isn't just about checklists, but also learning how to “communicate more assertively” in the cockpit or operating room…
  • How Lean and CRM / TeamSTEPPS fit together conceptually
  • How standardization and iterative improvement fit together

There's so much we could talk about, so we barely scratched the surface on this topic. If you have questions, we can do another podcast. Please post them as comments on this post.

For a link to this episode, refer people to  www.leanblog.org/195.

Related links:

For earlier episodes of my podcast, visit the main Podcast page, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS or via Apple Podcasts.  

You can also listen via Stitcher. 

Podcasts Sponsored by KaiNexus

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If you have feedback on the podcast, or any questions for me or my guests, you can email me at leanpodcast@gmail.com or you can call and leave a voicemail by calling the “Lean Line” at (817) 993-0630 or contact me via Skype id “mgraban”. Please give your location and your first name. Any comments (email or voicemail) might be used in follow ups to the podcast.

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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. Steve and Mark

    Really enjoyed your podcast.
    It caused me to think and see a direct connection from Lean to the Engagement kata to CRM/teamsteps.

    Any change methodology struggles against our brain, which is wired to preserve what it ‘knows’ to be ‘correct.’. And yet our brain is also very willing to pursue something once it has some tangible evidence that demonstrates a better way.( It appears we are all from Missouri- the Show Me state)

    By first clarifiying a shared goal/purpose the stage is set for people to consider aspects beyond their particular world view. By acting together towards that shared goal/purpose, the conflict that is caused by established roles, relationships, and interactions that are not well coordinated can be resolved and resistance to change reconciled in crafting a path forward.

    The ‘respect for people’ principle is so essential to Lean because the ultimate form of respect lies in ‘how I deal with your resistance,’ acknowledging your view as valid. This is the role for the engagement kata- the most direct process to recognize, respond and reconcile this resistance.

    But that requires people to communicate. That takes two things – a shared vocabulary and a protocol for when and how to use those words-thus the role of CRM/TeamSTEPPS- a most direct process for people to interact in that communication.



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