“Lean Coffee” Topics for September 2014


Lean Coffee LogoAs I blogged about last month, “Lean Coffee” is becoming a quarterly event for healthcare professionals here in San Antonio.

We held a two-hour discussion this morning, with students, leaders, and Lean practitioners from a university MHA program and some local healthcare organizations.

There's now a landing page that's the permanent home for Lean Coffee, registration info, etc. — leanblog.org/coffee

Below is a picture that shows how our “kanban” board looked at the end of our discussion today (under headers of “To Discuss,” “Discussing,” and “Discussed”).

lean coffee san antonio

Some of the topics included:

  • Growing your own Lean facilitators vs. hiring
  • How to shift from Lean projects to culture change?
  • How to improve leadership development?
  • How do you incentivize the daily review of metrics in departments?
  • What % of people would you expect to have “trained” in Lean by the end of year 3?
  • Should you spread solutions before metrics show improvements, when there is pressure to do so?
  • How do we prioritize what Lean projects to work on?

Many of these are fairly deep questions, but we had some good discussion, even with the 6 to 12 minute time limits that were decided on by the group (voting to stop the discussion or continue after 6 minutes).

On the question of daily metrics review, there was a lot of good discussion about asking why that's not being done, rather than thinking of incentives. Do people find a daily review to be unhelpful or not a good use of time? How can we help people get better at using the metrics review to drive problem solving and things that would be helpful?

Another interesting question that came up during the discussion was “What does it mean for a CEO to ‘support' Lean?” Can the CEO just talk about Lean or are they getting directly involved?

What questions would you bring up at a gathering of your peers and colleagues? Maybe you can run your own “Lean Coffee” in your city or organization. Let me know if you do!




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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.

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