Operational Excellence Mixtape: October 11, 2019


Healthcare – Creating Value for Patients

Transformation and quality improvement is rarely sustained without changing management behaviours and management systems. John Toussaint writes about the challenges of adopting lean management systems in the NHS in “Is quality a strategy or an operation?”.

For the last 25 years, Canadian hospitals have been congested with patients waiting for long-term care, often resulting in gridlock and Emergency Room overcrowding. Not much has changed, and the problem is likely to get worse if we don't act according to Bob Bell in “We aren't properly preparing for long-term care demand”.

The increasing complexity of healthcare can result in harm to patients, but the pressures it places on providers is often overlooked.  Bob Chapman, author of Everybody Matters, calls on healthcare leaders to address the growing challenge of physician well-being in Who Heals the Healers?

Operational Excellence

The best designers don't wait to observe all customers and try to figure out what they need – they run experiments to test hypotheses.  

It is widely understood that part of Toyota's unique culture is related to its approach to developing employees.  But what does learning at Toyota actually look like?  Plant lean interviews a lean consultant and section manager from Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK to shed light on how Toyota uses on-the-job training and lifelong learning to develop staff. 

 Lean practitioners have long lamented the proliferation of “fake Lean” or “Lean in name only” over the last 25 years as consultants have sought to capitalize on its popularity by diluting its principles and reducing lean to glitzy toolkit panaceas – with predictably poor results. It seems that agile suffers from the same phenomenon, even at the risk of National Security. Steve Denning describes how to detect agile BS and its importance to national cybersecurity in the US.

I work in a company that is over 125 years old.  Transformation by introducing lean principles can be a formidable challenge.  Lean appears simple, but challenging to apply consistently, as the leaders of 108 year old S&C Electric Company discovered over their 10 year lean journey

Don't ISO-ize your documentation.  You'll end up focusing on the document instead of your business

Leading & Enabling Excellence

Innovation requires collaboration and transparency.  Sometimes leaders get in the way of innovation.  Here are 5 Things Leaders DO That Stifle Innovation.

Large organizations that have transformed successfully over the last ten years have focused on identifying and aligning to a higher-order purpose.  Here are the Top 20 Business Transformations of the last decade.  

Boeing's focus on cost and speed over quality may have contributed to the 737 Max crashes

Former Danaher leader and accomplished lean thinker Larry Culp has been at the helm of General Electric for a year now.  It's been a bumpy ride as he attempts to apply lean to small acquisitions he's made.

Coaching – Developing Self & Others

Collaboration is necessary in today's complex organizational structures and remote workforces.  This has meant being hyper-connected and “always” available, which can result in interruptions and minimal “head-down” time.  MIT Sloan research suggests that alternating between being connected and performing head-down problem solving helps establish a helpful rhythm for collaborating.  

The World Health Organization has declared a global mental health crisis and defined burnout as an occupational hazard.  Self-neglect can sneak up on us and its cumulative effects may not be noticed until after we get sick.  Take care of yourself.

Books, Podcasts, Videos

Seth Godin discusses how to be a linchpin instead of a cog in this excellent podcast Are You Indispensible? on Entre Leadership.

Jim Collins of Good to Great fame on Keeping the Flywheel in Motion

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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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