Operational Excellence Mixtape: January 31, 2020


Healthcare – Creating Value for Patients

It's been more than 10 years since Atul Gawande wrote The Checklist Manifesto, showing the world that a simple 2-minute checklist prior to surgery resulted in fewer deaths.  Adoption is “pretty spotty”, and in poorer countries, the checklist is rarely used due to “surgeons who resent the implication that they may make dangerous mistakes, lax enforcement by hospital administrators and the powerlessness of nurses in some cultures.”.  Where Surgeons Don't Bother With Checklists.

Can we just end the ridiculous practice of employers requiring staff to seek “sick notes” to prove that they were ill?  Sick notes are bad for everyone.

Operational Excellence

Scaling and spreading a solution has always been one of the most difficult challenges of improvement and innovation.  Instead of scaling things, scale agency

A rower explains how to improve team alignment.

Year over year KPI charts are ubiquitous, but may not always be helpful to determine whether or not you are improving.  Mark Graban reminds us to be careful with misleading year over year charts

Training people on improvement methods and then expecting them to improve is naive and ineffective.  Improvement needs to be nurtured

A great case study on extracting waste from insurance claims processes in Planet Lean

We often associate agile and innovative behaviours with younger startup company cultures, but large and traditional organizations are seeking these skills and mindsets as well.  130 year-old Coca-Cola seeks “high learning agility” when scouting talent.

Embracing scientific thinking is a key principle of operational excellence, however, scientific thinking suffers from widespread misconceptions, such as, science is about certainty and men with glasses and clipboards that pretend to have all the answers.  Shane Parrish shows us how to distinguish “good” scientific thinking from “bad science” or “pseudoscience”.

“To understand digital, you've got to understand operational excellence”, according to BP's Walter Pesenti.  

Leading & Enabling Excellence

What are the elements of a disruptive management system for digital companies? Amazon's management system includes customer-obsession and curiosity, and offers a glimpse of what management in the digital world will consist of.

Carlos Ghosn, former CEO of Nissan, pursued growth at all costs and at the expense of profitability.  Predictably, it hasn't worked out well in the long run.  Back in 2010, Toyota similarly regretted pursuing growth above the speed at which they were able to develop their people.   There are finite limits to growth, but not to knowledge.  

Organizations are in the habit of developing lofty purpose and mission statements, around which they can inspire their customers and staff and design a unique culture.  Those that are publicly traded are also expected to maximize shareholder value and focus on quarterly earnings, regardless of the supremacy of its stated purpose.  What is the real purpose of a company? Only their behaviour can tell us. 

Coaching – Developing Self & Others

The 5 building blocks of engaged, high-performing teams

What does a lean coach bring to the table?

Books, Podcasts, Videos

If The Advice Trap by Michael Bungay-Stanier is even half as good as The Coaching Habit, I will order 10.  I've pre-ordered it on Amazon already.  

Mark Graban interviews Amy Edmondson about psychological safety in the workplace on Lean Blog podcast.  This episode is densely packed with great insights.  


Karen Martin discusses Trends in Lean with Ron Pererira on Gemba Academy podcast. 

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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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