Operational Excellence Mixtape: August 16, 2019


Healthcare – Creating Value for Patients

An experienced doctor in Toronto caused harm, operated without consent, and intimidated staff for years.  A disturbing but unsurprising tale of greed, betrayal, and medical misconduct at North York General Hospital.

One way to better match demand and capacity is to shape demand.  Urgent-care clinics at Deaconness started online booking allowing patients to see demand patterns and book accordingly.  It's too early to tell whether it's effective.  

If you want to improve patient safety, directly engage those closest to the patient.  

In an effort to change safety culture at the source, San Diego State University School of Nursing is the latest nursing school to integrate a new safety curriculum intended to reduce preventable death and harm.

Neil Armstrong died in 2012 when some questionable decisions were made regarding his care.  It's been revealed that the hospital went to great lengths to cover-up these facts. Here's hoping that Armstrong's death holds a giant leap for patient safety.  

Operational Excellence

Mark Graban has been blogging about Lean and Operational Excellence on leanblog.org for 14 years.  Here are his most-read posts from 2019 to date.  

Taiichi Ohno is credited with saying “data is, of course, important, but I place the greatest emphasis on facts”.  Managers and leaders often ask “what does the data say”, but data is just an approximation of a fact.  Read more in this excellent piece “I'm a data scientist who is skeptical about data”

One of the better ways to teach others how to run small experiments or tests of change using PDSA cycles is to use simulation.  I've made use of the Mr. Potato Head and Coin Spinning simulations in many workshops with great feedback.  Check out the facilitator instructions for the Mr. Potato-Head PDSA Simulation at DMW Austin.

There is much more to transformation than digital. Responding to digital disruption can be met with transformations in business models, culture, and operational improvements as described in Transformation Without Technology in MIT Sloan Management Review.

Middle managers and supervisors are the key levers for scaling up transformation efforts.  I've worked through many lean transformations where this is ignored, much to the detriment of sustainability.  Here are some do's and don'ts for engaging managers in change efforts in Are Your Managers the Weak Link?

There are many cliches and false tropes around lean and continuous improvement that endure.  I explore some of the most common ones I hear and offer up some alternatives and substitutions in Things People Say About Lean Part 1 & Part 2

Is Agile dead?  Unlikely.  But this article by Raj Pathia generated some interesting discussion on Linkedin.  

Leading & Enabling Excellence

How you get results is just as (or more than) important than getting the results.  Atlassian, the Australian software giant, is overhauling its performance review system, claiming it will “no longer tolerate “brilliant jerks” who deliver results for the company but make life hell for their co-workers as part of a complete overhaul of how the tech firm conducts performance reviews.”

On “the short list” of leaders who are celebrated for saving lives are two universal traits: courage and humility.  The Wall Street Journal shows how in a life-or-death situation, humility is everything.

There is growing recognition that curiosity is an essential leadership skill in a continuously changing world. Read more about this in In Praise of the Incurably Curious Leader

The master of brevity, Seth Godin comments on bureaucracies.

Coaching – Developing Self & Others

11 Ways Coaches Can Improve Their Active Listening and Connect With Their Clients

What I Learned From Two of the Top Performance Coaches in the World.

Empathy is a critical coaching skill, and it can be developed.  In this episode of Hidden Brain on NPR, Janil Zaki discusses how to strengthen your empathy muscle.

Books, Podcasts, Videos

Check out this podcast.  Mark Graban shares his insights throughout his career as an improvement consultant as a guest on Unlearn with Barry O'Reilly.  

Should problem solving be done based on applying general principles or by examining the specifics case-by-case?  Malcolm Gladwell explores the use of casuistry, a Jesuit-based problem solving method in The Standard Case

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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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