Ryan McCormack’s Operational Excellence Mixtape: December 16th, 2022


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Insights about improvement, innovation, and leadership

Operational Excellence, Improvement, and Innovation

Does Deming Still Matter?


Don't blame the grass, blame the gardener

Frustrated at the pace of change and acceptance of improvement principles at your organization? The easy route is to blame people for being resistant to change. The truth is, behaviour change is hard. Levent Turk invites us to practice a new language of change called BTFA: Believe-Think-Feel-Act

In a similar post, Corporate Rebels gives us 3 steps to change the mindset of employees

It's Still the System – Outliers – revisited

I live in Canada where excellence in hockey is valued above almost everything else. Back in 2008, Malcolm Gladwell published Outliers, a book that attempts to explain the sources of excellence in various fields outside of simply talent. The book revealed, among other things, the seemingly curious phenomenon that junior hockey players are much more likely to be born in the first half of a calendar year. It turns out that cumulative systemic advantages account for a lot of the variation in outcomes in many different fields. 

In this podcast, Gladwell visits a Wharton Business School class and runs an experiment to see whether the system still drives outcomes and whether those who benefit from the systemic advantages are willing to reinvent the system. 

Is there a doctor in the house?

Healthcare faces myriad challenges but staffing shortages are exacerbating an already broken system. What's the solution? The Future of Health (FOH) isn't sure, but there is consensus that technology and teamwork are key to designing the healthcare workforce of the future.

Creating a Culture of Improvement

We Don't Need Another Hero

If you truly want to enable your team, you will need to resist the burning desire to swoop in and save the day. Robbing your team members from the opportunity to learn, solve problems, and acquire new skills holds everyone back from excellence. Your team doesn't need you to be a hero.

Stop Overloading Your Managers

Your middle managers are the linchpins to performance and culture, but they are exhausted. More pressure continues to mount on middle managers and front-line supervisors. We need to listen to our exhausted leaders and (gasp) perhaps even add more managers

What Is It You'd Say You Do Around Here?

I've never heard of a Chief Purpose Officer before, but Polly MacKenzie of the University of the Arts London explains her role in the “purpose movement,” how purpose requires financial stability, and how she plans on turning purpose into meaningful action at UAL. Personally, I believe purpose should be widely communicated and connected into everyone's work as a key function of leadership and through strong management systems. I'm skeptical as to whether a Chief Purpose Officer is required to accomplish this, but Ms. MacKenzie provides some interesting insight in this article nonetheless.

Excellence, Still!

I always look forward to hearing Tom Peters speak.  Once again, Tom joins Mark Graban on Lean Blog Interviews podcast #465 where dispenses his timeless human-centred observations on management.  

Coaching – Developing Self & Others

Task Paralysis

Ever find yourself staring at your to-do list and then doing everything else except tackling it? How to save yourself from task paralysis.

Burnout? It's not the canary, it's the coal mine.

Christina Maslach has been researching burnout in the workplace since the 1970s.  She joins Dave Stachowiak on Coaching for Leaders episode 608: The Mindset Leaders Need to Address Burnout.  They have a conversation that seems even more relevant today and reminds us that managers should look at the conditions that lead the burnout rather than trying to “fix the individual” or simply accept that “the job is what it is.”

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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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