Lean Whiskey #31: End a Year, End a Bottle; Start a Year, Start a Bottle



Here is the episode if you want to stream it (no video this time):

Jamie Flinchbaugh, Jim Benson, Deondra Wardelle, Chris Burnham

In Episode 31 of “Lean Whiskey,” Mark Graban and Jamie Flinchbaugh discuss the routines and practices of wrapping up a year, and kicking off a new year.

In that spirit, we either finish a bottle of whiskey, or start a new one. We also invite three guests to share their thoughts.

Past Lean Whiskey guests Jim Benson, Deondra Wardelle, and Chris Burnham join and share their thoughts on finishing up a year and starting a new one.

Routines, habits, practices that help you transition the year and set up for success in the new year. Lean thinkers know the fallacy of just having good intentions, such as New Year's Resolutions, and tend to focus more on purpose, reflection, structure, and systems. We put that hypothesis to the test by asking three lean thinkers how they approach this time period, and didn't know in advance what they would share. 

Jim Benson talked about their discussions within his company, which take place during huddles which allow the conversation to emerge. This is much different than the once-and-done offsite approach. They are exploring how to increase collaboration, as that is certainly the central theme of their work with clients.

Deondra Wardelle celebrates, which she often models for all of us. She also shared how she develops a theme for each year, which drives her plans and actions. The theme for 2022 is “laser focus” which was very intriguing.

Chris Burnham, who is Senior Lean Strategy Director, KaiNexus, shared his evolution of daily practices which includes reflection, prioritization, and planning. His methods include journals and digital tools and of course, having important conversations about the right topics with the right people. 

Mark and Jamie also share a bit of their perspective on the challenge, including the fact that the turning of a calendar is relatively arbitrary when it comes to performance management and continuous improvement, and Mark notes how often he sees people zero-out their measurements to start the new year (please don't do this).


Jamie observes that the open space often (but not always) created between your last and first meeting gives you more room to mentally breathe (inbox = zero helps too) which allows deep work, whether that is reflection or planning. 

Since both books came up, we might as well mention Jamie's People Solve Problems and Mark's Measures of Success.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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