Operational Excellence Mixtape: Sept 4, 2020


Thanks as always to Ryan McCormack for this…

Healthcare — Creating Value for Patients

The response of healthcare providers during Covid-19 reminds us of their vast creativity and professionalism.  How come this has been largely squandered when driving quality improvement in normal times?  It's time to rethink quality improvement in the wake of the pandemic.

Healthcare transformation accelerates amid Covid-19.

Building a new hospital with humility.  

Operational Excellence

Should we empower staff or optimize them?  The empowerment vs. command and control argument has swirled for decades.  The real key is to find a practical balance.  Read more in Stop Overengineering People Management

Why aren't there enough paper towels on the shelves?  Blame lean manufacturing.

Opex practitioners understand the importance of observation.  Going to see is a foundational lean behaviour aimed at combatting biases and assumptions, as well as seeking truth.  Measurement systems analysis helps us understand measurement bias in order to better detect signal from noise.  But observing itself can distort perceptions as described in The Observer Effect: Seeing is Changing

When solving problems should you choose the system or individual first?  Jamie Flinchbaugh shares some examples of how to approach complex problems.

Continuous improvement programs are often early casualties during a downturn.  Joseph Paris offers a provocative explanation of why this happens in Eulogy of a Continuous Improvement Program.

Want to be on the leading edge? Don't.  It's not always worth it as Dan Markovitz explains.  

Leading & Enabling Excellence

Research finds that it doesn't pay to be a jerk at work.

Remote work is here to stay.  Bosses better adjust.

Humility is key to effective leadership, yet we are still drawn to the legends of the heroic leader, the benevolent founder, and the incandescent genius.  In tech, the cult of the genius remains fascinating to the public but it's time to rethink the how we treat brilliant but damaging individuals.

Being an agile boss means connecting to purpose, experimenting, and continually learning.  

5 Thoughts on Authentic Leadership.

Coaching – Developing Self & Others

Mentoring with trust.

Executive Coaches, your job is to deliver results.

Books, Podcasts, Videos

Mark Graban had Tom Peters on the LeanBlog podcast.  It was jam-packed with insights.


Lean healthcare leaders Dr. John Toussaint and Kim Barnas have released a new book, Becoming the Change: Leadership Behavior Strategies for Continuous Improvement in Healthcare.  I have pre-ordered it and eagerly await its arrival. 

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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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