Operational Excellence Mixtape: Jan 29, 2021

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Thanks as always to Ryan McCormick for this… there's always so much good reading, listening, and viewing shared here by him!


Healthcare — Creating Value for Patients

Listening may be a one of the most important skills of diagnosis. Our patients are telling us important stories, if we are willing to listen.

Here are the top 10 patient safety issues for 2021.  It's encouraging to see the inclusion of clinician burnout as a safety issue, but disappointing to see that surgical mistakes is still a major concern. 

The pandemic has shown that access to service can be readily facilitated through technology and remote distribution.  Here's an interesting example of a startup providing access to behavioural coaching services to reduce anxiety through the smartphone

Operational Excellence

Most operational excellence practitioners I know have an opinion on a common problem: what's the best way to board a full aircraft?  Much has been written on this topic, and many algorithms are available.  So why do airlines ignore these optimizations?  More in The Art and Science of Boarding an Airplane in a Pandemic.

John Shook reminds us that a deep understanding of work and the commitment to elevating all forms of work as craft is essential to purpose, performance and respect for people.  

Standardized work is the most simple and the most challenging concepts in continuous improvement.  When implemented as a “tool”,  it stifles improvement and is weaponized as a compliance to the “one best way”.  Jeffrey Liker explains how Standardized Work is a Goal To Work Toward, Not a Tool to Implement.  

Speaking of standardized work, TWI Institute announced that it has secured the rights to the methods of Isao Kato, a student of Taiichi Ohno at Toyota, on standardized work

Many leaders struggle with the operational excellence principle of “pursuing perfection”, rejecting it on the basis that, because perfection is unattainable it is too discouraging to set as a goal.  Bruce Hamilton explains how pursuing perfection can help create a structured approach to operational excellence

Most organizations report some form of “digital transformation” as a result of the pandemic.  Here are 5 mistakes to avoid for your digital transformation in 2021

A McKinsey survey in 2020 shows that 50% of companies surveyed have adopted Artificial Intelligence (AI) in at least one function.  The goal of any improvement should be to create value, not just pursue the latest technology. Here's an interesting case study from Rotman on Adding Value with AI: A True Story

If you're new to Process Mining, here's a good introducttion.  

Leading & Enabling Excellence

My country's government has offered up a masterclass on why selecting leaders based solely on achievement can have disastrous results.  Governor General Julie Payette resigned in advance of a scathing review of the workplace culture she created.   

The continued increase in distributed workforce continues to bring out some interesting (or horrifying) ideas on how management can “track” staff who work from home – presumably to check on their wellbeing.  Read more about the Moodbeam, a wristband that tells your boss if you're unhappy

7 digital transformation leadership sins, and what to do instead.

Coaching – Developing Self & Others

Many of us have been offered glib advice like “follow your passion”.  Ironically, this pressure to pursue a mythical labor of love can induce anxiety and stress.  Sarah Jaffe writes in the Financial Times “why you should ditch ‘follow your passion' careers advice”.

We know that practice is essential to learning.  We should also practice failure to avoid costly mistakes.

Productivity Tips for Procrastinators

I tried 4 To-Do List Methods.  Here's What Worked.

Books, Podcasts, Videos

Books I'm currently reading:

Leadership is Language: The Hidden Power of What You Say — and What You Don't by L. David Marquet.  I loved Turn the Ship Around – I'm sure this is going to be valuable as well.

That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea by Marc Randolph. I haven't started it yet, but it promises to be an interesting story of the need to empower your teams to test bold ideas.

Not a business book, but I love science books, and am enjoying the beautiful writing of Janna Levin's Black Hole Survival Guide. 


Podcasts I'm listening to:

Tom Peters returns to What's Next with Tiffani Bova to talk about Excellence: It's All About The Human Stuff.


I enjoyed this podcast that shows the use of lean process design to a Covid vaccine clinic at Torrance Memorial on episode 22 of The Lens

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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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