Ryan McCormack’s Operational Excellence Mixtape: September 24, 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!

News, blogs, articles, resources, and links about creating value, continuous improvement, innovation, and leadership.


Healthcare – Creating Value for Patients

Many hospitals and health systems have dabbled in quality improvement or Lean only to fizzle out after projects close or funding dries up.  It's the organizations with a long-term commitment to improving the quality of care and with sufficient levels of senior leadership the have the fortitude to take on Whole System Quality

Speaking of leaders who have the fortitude to transform health systems, the legendary Dr. Gary Kaplan, CEO of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and pioneer of applying the Toyota Production System to transform care delivery is retiring after 22 years.  

Reducing Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) has been one of the great feats of the improvement movement sparked by To Err is Human in the 1990s.  New CDC Data is showing an alarming increase in HAIs during the pandemic.  


Operational Excellence

Is it best to have a central innovation pipeline or to decentralize innovation?  It turns out that companies that decentralize innovation tend to engage external sources more, but fail to collaborate and share knowledge as well as centralized innovation groups.  

We all believe many myths about creativity, like group brainstorming produces more ideas than individuals thinking on their own.  Most people don't know what science says really matters when it comes to cultivating creativity.  Check out this study on Creativity myths: Prevalence and correlates of misconceptions on creativity.  Another great reminder from an ex-Toyota leader that transformation is not something you emulate.  Don't try to copy Toyota, understand it instead

Digitization and automation are not going to fade anytime soon, and do not need to be anathema to lean principles.  More in How Industry 4.0 can enhance lean practices. Lean neophytes are often introduced to the concept of the “hidden factory”: systemic pockets of waste that consume resources without adding value.  Hidden factories are not limited to manufacturing but can also be found in product development and software development organizations. How to find and fix hidden factories


Leading & Enabling Excellence

10 Things Your Corporate Culture Needs to Get Right

Psychological safety is more than a healthy organizational baseline condition, it is a transformational enabler.  Amy Edmondson explains that Psychological Safety is Not a Hygiene Factor.

Are offices obsolete when it comes to “doing work”, or are there other merits to office-based teams?  Perhaps Hard Work Isn't the Point of the Office

Want To Create High-Performing Teams? Turn Managers Into Coaches


Coaching – Developing Self & Others

We like certainty when it comes to decision making. This can create tunnel-vision and an avoidance of ambivalence when making critical decisions.  Here are some strategies to remain more open in The Problem With Certainty.


Books, Podcasts, Videos

Books I'm currently reading:

I just started my Fall reading list from the last mixtape, beginning with Testing Business Ideas: A Field Guide for Rapid Experimentation by David J. Bland. 


Podcasts I'm listening to:

Podcasts I'm listening to:

Great webinar with Vickie Pisowicz and Steve Spear “Fixing Healthcare From the Inside”.

Anyone working on digital transformation is familiar with Robotic Process Automation (RPA).  RPA is often touted as an excellent method to liberate workers from the mundane and redeploy them to higher value tasks, but is this how it's used in practice?  Daniel Dines, founder of UiPath discusses this in detail on Leadership Next: Can a Robot Do Your Job? 

The incomparable Rich Sheridan, author of Joy Inc. shares his experiences of leading during Covid in Joy in the Workplace During a Crisis.


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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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