Operational Excellence Mixtape: October 2, 2020


Thanks as always to Ryan McCormack for this…

Healthcare — Creating Value for Patients

Why did Covid overwhelm hospitals?  By trying to “over-optimize” for years.  The Wall Street Journal reports on the years-long drive for efficiency that made our systems vulnerable to crisis

A hospital trust has been fined for failing to be open and transparent with the family of a woman who died after something went wrong during an endoscopy.  It's disappointing that legislation and prosecution is required to incent openness and honesty from critical incidents. 

Covid cases are rising in Canada and so are the frustrations of citizens waiting in line for hours to get tested.  Canada has been sluggish to adopt the most current testing protocols and respond to demand.  In addition to the lag in adopting the most current methods, there has been little thought put into the design of the systems to process patients through the testing centres, where a little engineering could go a long way to improve customer satisfaction

Communication may be one of the most important skills for creating an excellent patient experience.  Here are 4 pitfalls to avoid in nurse communication.

Operational Excellence

Focusing on cost-cutting and winning at all costs.  Relying on assumptions.  A lack of transparency.  Avoiding regulatory oversight and independent verification.  These are just some of the findings of the House Report on Boeing and the FAA regarding the 737 MAX disaster

An excellent piece on applying the principles of operational excellence to criminal justice reform at the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at Penn's Carey School of Law.

Whether it's important to innovate before or after a crisis has long been a pointless debate.  The best time to innovate was yesterday and the next best time is today.  Innovate with urgency – even when there is no crisis

Design thinking is a great method for improving or re-inventing products and services.  But unless you design the business model, design thinking may not generate any money

Improvement and innovation is rarely the result of divine knowledge or epiphanies, but rather from iteration, persistence, and learning from failures.  Exceptionalism is a formidable barrier to learning from failure.  Learning from failure sets countries apart in the handling of the pandemic response

Leading & Enabling Excellence

Often the greatest opportunities to innovate and create value for customers comes at the interface between silos.  “Breaking down silos” is common leaderspeak, but many struggle to make it happen. Here are some tactics for Cross-Silo Leadership.

How to Defeat Busy Culture.

Why You Need Humility to Lead Through Change

Hierarchy or holocracy?  Zappos and others have inspired many to abandon traditional hierarchies, but does hierarchy still have its place?  Here are Four Keys to a Healthy Workplace Hierarchy.

Coaching – Developing Self & Others

Why do people use so much business jargon?  Low status and insecurity means people use jargon to sound smart.  

Years ago, coaching and leadership development was a scarce resource reserved for executives and select leaders.  Now, leaders at all levels need to coach and develop themselves and others.  Interesting article on the Democratization of Coaching and Leadership Development.

Books, Podcasts, Videos

Many great insights in this brief talk by Alan Mulally, former CEO of Boeing and Ford, shares his leadership experiences on The John Maxwell Leadership Podcast.

I really enjoyed hearing the experiences of Patrick Anderson, a health leader in Alaska, learning and applying the principles of organizational excellence throughout his career on Episode #20 of the Habitual Excellence 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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