Operational Excellence Mixtape: June 21, 2019


Healthcare – Creating Value for Patients

Many healthcare providers are driven by a deep commitment to the mission of healthcare.  Some refer to it as a calling.  The New York Times suggests that the healthcare industry exploits the goodwill and commitment of providers to keep the system running.  Organizations can get away with overburden for a short period of time, but it is unsustainable.  Fix the system instead.  

My home province of Manitoba is “transforming” healthcare by implementing blanket solutions developed by external consultants aimed at redistributing the existing methods of delivering care.  Here's how it's going, based on a quality assurance report written by the consultant.  My hope is that Manitoba courageously responds by engaging staff and patients, fundamentally re-designing care delivery, focusing on improving safety, fostering innovation, and improving transparency.  

US Healthcare is known for high costs relative to outcomes, with much of the blame placed on payment models, overtreatment, and insurers.  How much of the variation in outcomes can be explained by patient behaviour?  A lot according to this provocative article in the Atlantic, The Worst Patients in the World.

Operational Excellence

“We wonder why our LeanAgileSigmaPrinceEtc transitions are unsuccessful. It's simple, we started operating before we stabilized the patient.”  – Jim Benson in Lean and Agile: The Catch  A good summary of Deming's System of Profound Knowledge.

In the era of Big Data, we often believe all the answers are contained in the Enterprise Data Warehouse.  Karen Martin shares with us the power of ‘little data' in gaining deep knowledge of customers and operations.  

Get out of your office and go see.  What is an Engineer's Most Important Tool? – A Good Pair of Shoes. 

Organizations who are new to Transformation often deliberately work around middle managers and address changes and improvements directly with staff.  There are predictable consequences with sustainment.  Scaling improvement requires deep engagement of middle managers.  Leaders often attempt to directly address frontline staff concerns with engagement, but failing to engage managers makes staff engagement unsustainable.   If your managers aren't engaged, your employees won't be either.  

Leading & Enabling Excellence

It's increasingly important for CEOs and leaders to develop high performing teams, and psychological safety is necessary (but not sufficient) to help a team realize its potential.

What does psychological safety sound like in an organization

“I just don't get technology” – a refrain we've all heard someone (or ourselves) say out of frustration or fear of learning a new system in the workplace.  The Wall Street Journal features some sound advice for supporting those who resist new tech in the office.

My friend Sara Thompson of Catalysis shares a great analogy in Changing Organization Culture is Like Renovating an Old House. 

Everyone wants more innovation.  Problem is, most of our performance management processes work against it.  If You Want More Innovation, You Need a New Performance Management System. 

Coaching – Developing Self & Others

Along our life's journeys, we've all received valuable advice.  What's the best advice you've received?  David Pogue crowdsources the Best Advice You've Ever Received in the New York Times.

“Burn out” is now officially listed as a disease by the World Health Organization.  Workplaces and supervisors are officially making people sick.  The treatment?  Leaders who care about their employees according to Bob Chapman in The Slow Burn of Poor Leadership.

Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up

Books, Podcasts, Videos

Compliance-based industry and continuous improvement can be a difficult marriage. Here's an interesting interview with Brian Beeghly on applying continuous improvement principles in a compliance environment.   

Don Berwick, founder of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement shares his story of how he came to encounter Deming's principles, their relevance today, and his 40-year journey in trying to spread them across healthcare.  

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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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