Operational Excellence Mixtape: November 23, 2018


Healthcare – Creating Value for Patients

Hospitals have been collecting patient complaint data for decades, but leveraging the data for improvement has remained elusive.  Some new publications show how using a big data approach for patient complaint data can help identify blind spots and drive improvements.

Fragmented notes and medical records can result in harm.  Paper Trails: Living and Dying With Fragmented Medical Records recounts a Stanford physician's tale of the frustration,waste, and risk inherent in the patient journey.

Operational Excellence

Rolling out change and sharing best practices are common ‘methods' for organizations attempting transformation.  Legendary management scholar Gary Hamel argues that this is bullshit and leads to $9 trillion wastes due to bureaucracy and offers up an evolutionary approach to ‘humanocracy' to avoid the killer bureaucracy trap

Metrics are ubiquitous but we all know that not all metrics are useful.  Bad metrics are ones where there is no clear relationship between the process and the data being used according to part two of ” metrics: the good, the bad, and the ugly” in Quality Digest.

Don't improve something that should be eliminated.  Improvements can go bad when we mistake a department for a value stream and optimize or improve a process that could be removed completely.

Leading & Enabling Excellence

“Executives may think they're encouraging questions from their employees, but research shows that the people who work for them don't agree.” Here are three steps to foster a culture of curiosity.

Leading with humility cultivates excellence.  Acknowledging that you might be wrong, and recognizing that you don't know everything cultivates an open-mind  Nothing new here – Ben Franklin knew it, and now psychologists have quantified the traits that make someone open-minded.

When a job doesn't have the fulfillment of deep work and problem solving, we sometimes turn to manufactured fun as a surrogate.  The corporate zeal to increase employee engagement has led some organizations have turned to “mandatory” teambuilding in an effort to check the box in creating fun at work.   Adam Grant summarizes the risks of mandatory fun and when it can backfire.  

Wells Fargo continues to reinforce its position as the antithesis of how to enable excellence.  In the latest installment of taking no ownership of a scandalous culture, Wells Fargo is arguing that customers and shareholders can't sue them because they should have expected that they were being lied to and swindled

Coaching – Developing Self & Others

Training, conferences, and learning opportunities are often the first things cut during short-sighted “belt-tightening”.  Taking the time to learn at work can cause anxiety as you may be seen as “not busy” or “not pulling your weight”. The risks of this frustratingly common practice are well documented.  Unsurprisingly, a Linkedin survey unsurprisingly confirms that learning at work is more important for workplace happiness than – well, everything else.

Two words can improve your coaching game.  Saying “yes, and” is a helpful and powerful coaching phrase

A common theme in transformation literature is a preference for evolution over revolution.  Coaching is no different – small tweaks are more likely to generate sustainable changes in habit than large daunting changes.

Books, Videos, Podcasts

This was excellent: Seth Godin on How to Say No, Market, and Win at Life: The Tim Ferriss Show

Awesome discussion on problem solving: Art Smalley on the 4 Types of Problems : Mark Graban's Leanblog Podcast

IEX Webinar: Katie Anderson on Coaching, Intention, and Daily Practice

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Ryan McCormack
Ryan is an operational excellence professional with over 18 years experience practicing continuous improvement in healthcare, insurance, food manufacturing, and aerospace. He is an avid student of the application of Lean principles in work and life to create measurably better value.


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