2nd Post for the Deming Institute Blog: The Failed “Livonia Philosophy”


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Earlier this month, I wrote about and shared my first blog post for the W. Edwards Deming Institute blog: Why Dr. Deming's Work is So Important to Me

Yesterday, they published the second in my series of three posts for them:

The Failure of “The Livonia Philosophy” at my GM Plant

Here's a picture of the plant, taken a few years ago after its closure (a victim of the GM bankruptcy, I guess):

I walked in those doors every morning… from June 1995 to June 1997.

My post for the Deming includes this excerpt:

General Motors wasn't my ideal workplace… [but they] promised me a different type of workplace (one that existed, at least, at this plant), one based on the Deming philosophy. I was probably the only kid coming out of college who recognized or cared about that. But, it really mattered to me.

Sadly, it didn't take very long to realize that the plant had a very traditional management style, very traditionally combative labor/management relations, and a typical blame-and-shame, command-and-control environment that made people miserable and didn't deliver quality to the customer or any of the right business results.”

Why had the Livonia experiment failed? Read the whole post here.

What are lessons learned to think about for healthcare and Lean initiatives that have fallen by the wayside, like these two:

Why Would a New Healthcare CEO Kill a Lean Program?

A Post-Mortem on a Different Hospital Lean Journey

I hope you'll read the Deming Institute post. What do you think about these scenarios?

Coming soon, Part Three in the series:

Reflections on Dr. Deming's Hospital Notes – What Has Changed Since 1987?


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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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