Podcast #378 — Christopher D. Chapman and Valeria Sinclair-Chapman, PhD on Lean, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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Chris and Val Chapman

Joining me for Episode #378 are Christopher D. Chapman, Senior Lean Transformation Coach at Chapman Lean Enterprise and Dr. Valeria Sinclair-Chapman,  a social scientist, Associate Professor, and Director of the Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion at Purdue University.

I was first introduced to Chris through his article that was published on the Lean Enterprise Institute's “The Lean Post” section titled “Lean in Lean Thinkers to Root Out Racial Inequity.” He also has a follow up article called “Our Burning Platform and Using the 5 Whys to Think More Deeply about Corrective Action” with more to come.

As he wrote:

Lean leaders have a crucial role to play. We have long practiced and taught clients Respect for People as the moral core of lean thinking. As LEI states, leading respectfully not only improves business results but also the lives of workers, their families, their community, and, ultimately, society.” 

I reached out to Chris to see if he'd want to discuss his article in a podcast and he was quick to bring his wife, Val, into the conversation, given her academic credentials and her experience working with organizations on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

In the episode, all three of us discuss the intersection and overlap between Lean transformation and DEI. Changing the culture of an organization is difficult and it requires a willingness to call out problems as a start.

This is a different topic than other podcast episodes. It's also a much longer episode than usual… because it's an important discussion, it was thought provoking, challenging (for me), but it was also friendly and spirited in a positive way. I hope you agree. I invite you to join us. This topic might be outside of your comfort zone… it was for me, but that made it all the more worth doing.

I hope you enjoy the conversation, whether you listen or watch.


Streaming Audio Player:


Video Podcast:

Watch via YouTube

Here is one 20-minute segment where we talk about how (and why) to increase diversity on stage at Lean events (and in podcasts like mine).


For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/378.


Topics and Questions:

Antiracism
a. What is antiracism?
b. Why does the problem definition matter? How would you frame the problem?
c. Why do racist policies (systemic problems) matter, not just words or individual behaviors?

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
a. Please define those three words
b. What is the business case for diversity? Why is it a business imperative, even in tough times?
c. Can you contrast it with moral obligation for DEI?
d. Why is it a form of waste when people of color wonder “do I look like I belong?” and “do people think I belong?”

What brought us to this moment?
a. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, & Christian Cooper (birdwatcher)
b. Protests
c. Global outcry/support of George Floyd/Black Lives Matter
d. Personal/professional experience with egregious racist act
e. White people experienced it too, they have a stake in racism too

We agree that transforming culture involves more than training… what can we do to improve our organizations?
a. What is the gap between current state and ideal?
b. Policies and systems that create more equity?

What can Lean conferences (and podcasts) do to be more diverse and inclusive?


Thanks for listening and thanks for caring about these important issues.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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