Operational Excellence Mixtape: February 14, 2020


Healthcare – Creating Value for Patients

“We have a good people in a bad system”.  Here's an excellent interview with Dr. Marty Makary, author of “The Price We Pay”, on how to address the challenges of the US Healthcare system

Who knows better how to improve healthcare than those delivering it?  Christus St. Vincent in Santa Fe is busy transforming care with its Clinician Directed Performance Improvement Program where doctors are paid to drive improvements.  The results include drastic reductions in infections and readmission rates, and a five star Medicare & Medicaid Rating.  

Meanwhile, the Canadian healthcare system continues to cost more and provide less.  Quebec's overflowing emergency rooms continue to demonstrate the shortcomings of our outdated system.  Payment model reform, innovation, transparency,  and system redesign are still desperately needed.  In Ontario, Dr. Bob Bell identifies some core capabilities needed to better integrate the healthcare system

Operational Excellence

Dan Markovitz reminds us to be mindful of poor visual displays of performance, as they can drive poor management behaviour and torture staff.

Toyota is one of the most studied organizations, yet there has been limited success in spreading its capabilities to others.  David Verble, a 15 year Toyota veteran, demonstrates how Value Stream Mapping is often misapplied in Important Ways We Fail to Learn From Toyota.

In command-and-control cultures, those who raise problems or point out imperfections are often scolded or labeled as troublemakers and complainers.  Innovation requires dissenting voices and agitators, so Don't Demonize Employees Who Raise Problems.

Facts are better than data.  We've become so dependent on big data as a source of truth, that we can become easily fooled.  An artist altered traffic patterns by pulling a wagon full of iPhones down the streets of Berlin

Cognitive biases get in the way of decision-making, thinking, and improvement.  Here's a great visualization of 50 common cognitive biases to be aware of

Leading & Enabling Excellence

It's been a year since Larry Culp took on the CEO role at General Electric and brought Lean in as a method to help turnaround its performance.  Here's his grade on his first year's performance

If you want to change culture, you have to uncover the underlying mindsets that drive undesirable behaviours and design systems to shift behaviours.  Stop playing “Whac-a-mole” with behaviour change.

Canadian business leaders are generally risk averse.  They should try cheering on failure

What will it take to lead in an increasingly digital economy? MIT Sloan released its New Leadership Playbook For The Digital Age.  There are some interesting takes on mindset and skills, some independent of digital.

Working in bureaucracies is frustrating. Complex and conflicting policies, with nebulous governance and provenance, can create a system where following the rules prevents good people from doing the right thing.  Read more in this fascinating account of systemic self-sabotage in the US Armed Forces, Self Sabotage: Why Doing the Right Thing Results In Failure. 

Coaching – Developing Self & Others

Great 4-minute clip by Jeff Hunter on How To Give Feedback.

Most of us can't articulate what constitutes “good listening” skills, but we can almost all describe “bad listening”.  Read about some lessons in the lost art of listening in Talk Less. Listen More. Here's How.

Managers who take a coaching approach provide their staff with a much different experience than managers who are hyper-focused on results.

To achieve your goals, lump and slice.

Books, Podcasts, Videos

Operational excellence requires embracing scientific thinking, leading with humility, and continual learning.  Innovative organizations generate a lot of hypotheses and run actual experiments, rather than rely on A/B testing, trials, pilots, or the manager's experience and intuition.  Check out this excellent HBR Ideacast as professor Stefan Thomke shares his research on How to Set Up – And Learn From – Experiments.

I've written about how lean thinkers can learn from “Lean-orado Da Vinci's” principles and methods, and in this podcast, Michael Gelb goes over Leonardo's 7 principles in The Beauty of Truth and The Secret To Thinking Like Leonardo DaVinci.

Coaching for Leaders podcast hosts legendary leadership coach John Maxwell on How to Motivate Leaders

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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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