Ryan McCormack’s Operational Excellence Mixtape: January 21, 2022


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

Don't attempt to save money by designing your system to operate at 100% utilization at steady state.  Why Canada's hospital capacity was so easily overwhelmed by the COVID pandemic.

“Get to know this organization before you try to change this organization”.  I hadn't heard of Leeba Lessin before reading this article, but these 10 Healthcare Lessons You Can't Afford Not to Learn are excellent.  I only wish she had a chance to write her book.

Operational Excellence

Shortages are everywhere in global supply chains.  Is Lean the problem or the answer?

Internal audit and controls can often become a constraint to corporate continuous improvement initiatives, but what if we applied continuous improvement to internal controls?

Operational excellence is predicated on scientific thinking and fact-based decision-making.  But is there such thing as too much analysis?  Does the growing obsession with managing by numbers devalue human creativity?  In sports, as in business, the advent of Moneyball has made it table-stakes for any professional sports organization to employ advanced analytics to gain any edge it can.  Have analytics in sports gone too far?   In business, the dark side of metrics is well established. I recommend The Tyranny of Metrics by Jerry Muller as a primer for the consequences of taking analytics too far in business and education. 

Your standard is a function of what level of quality you tolerate and accept.  When seeking excellence, beware The Mediocrity Trap

Many believe that diversity of thought is important for creative or divergent thinking, but is a hindrance for execution.  Not so, according to an interesting study of teams' abilities to modulate between brainstorming and focused work.  Think Different — Sometimes: Teams Succeed When They Balance Creativity and Focus

Experiments can be beautiful – even those that produce null results.  I may have shared this link before, but I re-read it recently and I realized it's worth sharing again When is a Scientific Experiment Like a Beautiful Piece of Art?

Process mining is a great tool to gather data, but first hand knowledge and analysis are still important to identify the real improvement opportunities. More data does not always mean more process knowledge.

Leading & Enabling Excellence

In case you need a reminder of the devastating consequences of cutting corners on quality,  rushing to market, and failing to provide the conditions to speak up about risks, the Boeing 737 Max scandal endures as Boeing is criminally charged and ordered to pay $2.5 Billion for lying to the FAA after the 2018 and 2019 crashes.  

Always be working on culture. If you think the Great Resignation is about pay, consider that a toxic corporate culture is 10.4 times more powerful than compensation in predicting a company's attrition rate compared with its industry.

2021 was a pretty crazy year in the workplace.  7 Gallup Workplace Insights: What We Learned in 2021

Vishal Garg, CEO of Better, who fired 900 employees over Zoom, is back after a period of ‘reflection'.  Will he change his leadership style?  Stay tuned. 

Coaching – Developing Self & Others

I've been noticing an increased interest in the use of the Eisenhower Matrix to improve time management.  

Finding success starts with finding your purpose

Collaborative work is increasingly required to tackle complex workplace challenges, but it can also lead to many project failures.  When Collaboration Fails and How to Fix It.

Books, Podcasts, Videos

Books I'm reading:

I began reading How to Begin: Start Doing Something That Matters by Michael Bungay-Stanier (author of The Advice Trap and The Coaching Habit – both excellent books). 

Podcasts I'm listening to:

Dr. Eric Dickson, CEO of UMass Memorial in Worcester MA shares some extraordinary insights into how a principle-based culture fosters excellence, even during a crisis, on Habitual Excellence Episode 59.

Following up on standards is a critical behaviour for a culture of improvement, yet it is one of the hardest behaviours to hardwire.  I've always been a proponent of Process Confirmation tools to enable leaders to follow-up easily and consistently.  On Episode 43 of The Lens, some nurses and continuous improvement coaches from Michigan Medicine discuss how they're using process confirmation to drive improvement behaviours.  

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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.


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