What I’m Listening To: Atul Gawande, Toyota’s Jeff Miller, Eric Ries


I've occasionally had a “What I'm Reading” post, where I share links to articles that I've enjoyed that don't necessarily merit a whole blog post.

Today is about “What I'm Listening To” — podcasts that I've heard and want to share (beyond the episodes I have created for my own podcast series, which will be on a bit of a hiatus through the end of the year, probably).

Washington Post – Dr. Atul Gawande

gawande washington post

The D.C. paper has a podcast series called “On Leadership.” I discovered it through their recent interview with Dr. Atul Gawande, one of my favorite authors (see past blog posts about him). In the episode, he's discussing his new book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.

Listen to the episode. Read a transcript.

When asked about Ebola, he points out the everyday problems with infection control practices (as I wrote about here).

“…it has exposed the fact that we have two million people who pick up infections in American hospitals every year, mostly because we aren't following the checklist for infection control.”

Another key question and answer:

Q. What other big management challenges do you see hospitals facing?

A. The key thing ends up being managing change, because we're moving from an industry run by individuals and a fee-for-service kind of structure to organizations responsible for the health of populations. It's a radical shift, and there's a huge challenge around making the financing work.

The hospitals right now win by getting more emergency room visits, more admissions, more operations. Yet they know that the future is going to be the opposite. A lot of hospitals feel like they have one foot in the boat and the other foot on the dock. My own hospital, we're about half and half. We have entire budgets for patients where you can organize to make much of their care outpatient; and the other half is fee-for-service, where somebody is still yelling at me, “You're not doing enough operations, Atul!” That is the hardest leadership challenge I see for hospital leaders, and it's part of why I'm not a hospital leader.

Gawande points out something that I've seen and heard about a lot in my nine years in healthcare – the lack of management training or education that's given to clinicians. And that holds everybody back. Gawande also talks about the need for coaching and other insightful points in the podcast.

Gemba Academy Podcast – Jeff Miller of Toyota

gemba academy jeff miller toyota

I've been a guest on my friend Ron Pereira's relatively new podcast series. On Sunday, I went for a walk and listened to a recent episode with Jeff Miller of Toyota Financial Services.

Listen to the episode. Read a transcript (PDF).

In their discussion, Jeff talks about the application of Lean and Kaizen principles in areas of Toyota outside of the factory floor and how today's “best practice” can't be something permanent that holds you back from more improvement.

Shmula Podcast – Eric Ries

shmula eric ries podcast

My friend and fellow blogger Pete Abilla has also started a podcast series on his site Shmula.com. There's only one episode in the feed at this writing, with Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup. Pete has also released a text interview with Matt Long of the manufacturer Herman Miller as part of his series (that has included me).

Listen to the episode. Read a transcript.

Eric talks about his meeting with GE CEO Jeff Immelt and their “GE Fastworks” program. He also talks about the connections to classic PDCA thinking. They also delve into software and problem solving topics.

A key quote:

But we don't allow ourselves ever to operate with no target, no hypothesis, and no plan. It's much better to relentlessly and ferociously pursue a plan, even if it turns out to be wrong, because that will help you figure out what the right plan is.

Eric's annual Lean Startup Conference is going to be in early December again. I don't think I'll be able to attend this year due to my work schedule, but I look forward to seeing the videos they will share.

What other podcasts do you like to listen to when walking, jogging, or commuting? Leave a comment below.

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1 Comment
  1. Roman says

    Thank you for sharing the list! Atul Gawande great ideas on the checklist strategy are very close to the lean ideas, I think.

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