Operational Excellence Mixtape: September 27, 2019


Healthcare – Creating Value for Patients

Globally, at least 5 patients die every minute due to unsafe care.  For Patient Safety Week, the World Health Organization is calling for urgent action to reduce patient harm in healthcare.

On this theme, Manitoba discloses its critical incidents from April to June 2018 – most of them preventable.

Rural healthcare is a challenge everywhere. A group from Prince Edward Island is presenting its tele-rounding system in Vietnam to show how it connects physicians with patients in sparsely populated areas. 

Mayo Clinic has signed on with Google Cloud for 10 years to develop its cloud and AI environment.

Turning around a hospital's performance requires more than a focus on cost cutting. “We continue to move forward and are laser-focused on growth, quality care, and our community,” Fincher says. “We don't settle for best practices; we go beyond them.”

Operational Excellence

What's the best indicator of success with Lean?  Jon Miller argues that the presence of a robust andon system separates the fakers from the real thing.

Here's what a ‘next level' collision shop look like using operational excellence.

When faced with staff shortages, most employers look for advanced experience in technical skills for filling positions.  This may be myopic, as the acceleration of automation will continue to make ‘soft skills' like creativity and communication in bigger demand – worse yet, they take a long time and experience to develop.  

Much like lean, agile often strays away from its originating principles and gets subverted by traditional management approaches.  For example, the backlog often fails “because we aren't good at seeing everything we'll want in advance, and we aren't good at figuring out how long it will take to build something we do not yet understand. The result, all too often, is that we try to stick with an impossible plan, missing the deadline and producing inferior product at the same time.”  Ron Jeffries expresses a need to turn Agile dial up to 12 to return to principles.  

A New York Times article proposes that the airline industry's obsession with removing the human element from flight, or “airmanship,” may have contributed to the Boeing 737 Max crashes.  With the rise of automation, we can expect to see more struggles as we try to replace deep cognitive functionality with machines. 

Leading & Enabling Excellence

Here's a great Rotman article on How to Become a More Strategic Leader.

Psychological safety and the ability to discuss undiscussables is a necessary condition for excellence.  MIT Sloan Review describes how you can tell whether your team has a problem with undiscussables and the four types of undiscussables.  

Motivation isn't something you “give” someone else.  Stop trying to figure out how to motivate your team and focus on creating an environment for teams to motivate themselves.  

Can self-organizing teams be the cure for the challenges in the care sector?  The Local Cornerstone, a large Scottish care provider, has embraced a radical redesign of organizational structure without any traditional management.  Two years in, it appears promising.

Coaching – Developing Self & Others

Five Common Communication Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Use paradox to help teach leaders to navigate the complexities of the modern workplace.

Books, Podcasts, Videos

If you don't plan your time, someone else will plan it for you.  I listened, and re-listened to this podcast by Nir Eyal : Align Your Calendar to What Matters.

Get These Mixtapes via Email


What do you think? Please scroll down (or click) to post a comment. Or please share the post with your thoughts on LinkedIn – and follow me or connect with me there.

Did you like this post? Make sure you don't miss a post or podcast — Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.

Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

Get New Posts Sent To You

Select list(s):
Previous articleLean Lesson: Don’t Get Crushed Because of Bad Standardized Work
Next articleHow We Can Easily Miss Signals in Our Metrics When We Rely on Red / Green Analysis
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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.