Michele Smith on Winning the People Side of Lean Transformation


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My guest for Episode #444 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Michele Smith. She is CEO and an Executive Coach with her firm Better Possibilities, LLC.

Michele is the former director for the Sutter Improvement System at Sutter Health. She is a Catalysis faculty member and she is is leading a workshop June 7th at the Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit called Winning the People Side of Transformation in Salt Lake City. The Summit is being held June 6 to 9 (with the main days being the 8th and 9th). I hope to see you at the Summit.

Michele is a dedicated Executive/Leadership Coach with extensive experience coaching individuals across all levels of the organization. She has broad experience as a designated leader and change management consultant, with expertise in team building, leadership development, and facilitation/coaching of leadership to arrive at an organizational strategy with aligned goals, solutions, and ultimately culture change.

Today, we discuss topics and questions including:

  • Tell us a bit about Lean at Sutter — the Sutter Improvement System
  • A management system?
  • A roadmap vs. GPS?
  • Wanting an “organization of problem solvers” – how do we define problem solving?
  • How to help shift from fire fighting and workarounds to problem solving to root?
  • Short-term countermeasures vs long-term countermeasures 
  • Management behaviors that lead to the continuous improvement culture?
  • “Leaders to let go of control”
  • Helping leaders through this via change management methods?
  • Motivations to change?  
  • What is ADKAR? Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement
  • Ah-has — Change management vs. “just change” 
  • Shoehorning change (communication to the masses) in at the end of an improvement event?
  • Bringing the broader team along — keeping them informed, getting their input before and during the event, not just after?
  • Leaders going through their ADKAR process and then how do you help others go through it???
  • The important of joy / happiness in accepting change??
  • Secret sauce – “The Happiness Advantage”

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.

This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network

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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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