Ryan McCormack’s Operational Excellence Mixtape: November 19, 2021


Thanks as always to Ryan McCormack 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

Here's an excellent resource on psychological safety in healthcare

Michael Porter's Value Chain model is a time-tested classic for business model analysis.  Leaders at two community-based organizations used value chain analysis to co-design processes with health care payers and providers that led to improved clinical, operational, and financial metrics.

Conditions for healthcare workers were questionable pre-Covid.  It's great to maximize the utilization of resources to hit quarterly targets until a crisis hits.  Now, U.S. Faces Crisis of Burned-Out Health Care Workers.  And in Canada, hospitals are ‘bleeding out' as nursing shortage intensifies.   

Operational Excellence

Many still mistakenly believe lean hinders innovation and creativity due to its focus on standardization.  Standardization creates space for innovation and experimentation.

Changing the organization structure is probably the most common transformational tactic used by leaders of large organizations in the hopes that “silos' are eliminated.  But the “walls” don't disappear, they just move – Strategy and (Re)Organization

John Doerr explains how OKRs can be used to help solve the climate change crisis

Putting Your Corporate Purpose to Work

Leading & Enabling Excellence

Valu eCapture shares a book excerpt of the leadership lessons of the legendary Paul O'Neill Sr. The entire e-book is available for download: Lasting Impact: Leaders Share Lessons From Paul O'Neill Sr.

Covid and remote work has challenged us to Rethink Assumptions About How Employees Work

Legendary lean-thinking CEO Larry Culp makes a huge move at General Electric to try and save the iconic company.  

The Boeing 737 Max debacle continues as former Boeing employee Mark Forkner is charged with providing the FAA with false information.  I understand the desire to hold people accountable, but we risk losing sight of the conditions that led to the culture that allowed these behaviours to occur.  In the meantime, Boeing works to agree to settle with victims of the Ethiopia 737 Max crash.  

How Humility Can Give You a Leadership Edge.

Coaching – Developing Self & Others

It's a lot easier and more effective to consistently avoid making simple mistakes than it is to focus on being perfect.  Avoiding Stupidity is Easier than Seeking Brilliance.

The Confusion Between Coaching and Mentoring: Which Is Which?  Does it matter?  I'm not sure.

Books, Podcasts, Videos

Books I'm reading:

Listening to WSJ's Bad Bets podcast (and watching the HBO series Succession) has rekindled my interest in some books about spectacular failures of “brilliant” arrogant or outright fraudulent leaders.  My all-time favourites I recommend to anyone:

The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron (also made into a movie – but the book is better)

When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management

and for some Canadian content, The Bre-X Fraud, which inspired the Matthew McConaughey film “Gold.”

Podcasts I'm listening to:

Over 10 years ago, I visited an Autoliv plant in Ogden Utah to learn about enterprise excellence and it changed my entire view of how to achieve it.  Check out Habitual Excellence: Applying Lessons from Autoliv (Manufacturing) to Intermountain Healthcare: Scott Saxton

Storytelling is a skill I want to develop further.  I am making a lot of the mistakes covered in Coaching for Leadership #553: The Four Storytelling Mistakes Leaders Make, with David Hutchens.

I enjoyed this Reload of Tiffani Bova's What's Next: Servant Leadership and Building a Culture of Engagement with Ginger Hardage

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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.


  1. I really enjoyed the paper on the Avoiding Stupidity is easier than Seeking Brilliance. I would agree with this premise for the majority of my business.. but I would definitely say that there is a lot of value in taking a small segment where risk of failure can be mitigated/minimized such that experimentation/shooting for brilliance is a possibility.
    Once again, a great job curating some great info Ryan! Congrats on the new role. – Cory


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