Lean Whiskey #26: The Accidental St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, and Discussing New CEOs Carol Tomé, Rosalind Brewer, and Jane Fraser

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Jamie Flinchbaugh, Mark Graban, Adam Zak

In Episode 26, we accidentally celebrate St. Patrick's Day with some Irish whiskey, lightly mourn some NCAA March Madness losses (or absences, and Jamie Flinchbaugh and Mark Graban welcome guest co-host Adam Zak. We selected Irish whiskey as a category because we hadn't used it yet, but after changing the date of the scheduled recording, we ended up quite close to St. Patrick's Day (which was officially a dry holiday until 1970, but that pendulum certainly swung the other way). 

In the spirit of Adam Zak's career as an executive recruiter with a Lean lens, we discuss many of the new CEO appointments, in particular Carol Tomé at UPS, Rosalind Brewer at Walgreens, and Jane Fraser at Citigroup. These appointments are historic in one sense, but also highlight the fact that only 41 of the Fortune 500 are run by women (and Brewer is the only Black woman of the group). We explore what matters when selecting a new CEO, how that fits the strategic needs of the company, and how Lean thinking might influence or be leveraged by some of these leaders. 

We explore a common listener question: Do you think it's possible for a Lean organization to do well with quality and safety? As we certainly don't feel this question takes much nuance to answer, we make our way through this fairly quickly and on to our closing question about what books we are reading these days, with a slight detour into our reading habits. 


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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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