Empower Your Team: Join Dr. Lisa Yerian’s Webinar on Building a Culture of Empowerment


I was happy to host a webinar, as part of the KaiNexus Continuous Improvement Webinar series that was be presented by Dr. Lisa Yerian, the chief improvement officer at the Cleveland Clinic.

You can learn more and register here to view the recording:

Building a Culture of Empowerment: Reflections on Lessons Learned

I saw Lisa give a version of this talk at last October's AME annual conference and it was fantastic. So, I invited her to share her reflections and lessons learned with our webinar audience — which can include you!

It's free and I hope you'll view the recording, regardless of your industry. Lisa has learned many lessons from the manufacturing realm, and this is a great opportunity for others to learn from her!

Here's a short preview video and the transcript can be found below.

I hope you'll check out the full webinar — register now.

Transcript of the Preview Video:

Mark Graban: Hi, everybody. I'm Mark Graban. Welcome back to the “KaiNexus Continuous Improvement Podcast.” Today, we are doing a quick preview of our next webinar. It's titled Building a Culture of Empowerment — Reflections on Lessons Learned.

It's going to be presented March 14 at one o'clock Eastern. If you'd like to register, go to kainexus.com/webinars or look for a link in the show notes. We are joined today by the presenter of that webinar. She is Dr. Lisa Yerian. She's the chief improvement officer at Cleveland Clinic. Lisa, how are you?

Dr. Lisa Yerian: I'm good. Thank you, Mark. How are you?

Mark: I am doing well. I'm looking forward to your webinar. I saw you do a version of this at the AME Conference in Dallas in October. It's a great presentation. Happy we're going to be able to bring it to this audience here. Can you introduce yourself in your own words? Tell us a little bit about your background.

Dr. Yerian: Sure, happy to. My name is Lisa Yerian, and I'm the chief improvement officer at the Cleveland Clinic. I've been here for almost 19 years. I came here to be a gastrointestinal and liver pathologist.

I look at biopsies and human tissues under the microscope to make diagnoses to tell people what's wrong with them. I did that for a few years and learned a little bit about how to improve things in the laboratory through process improvement, lean thinking, lean principles, and ultimately decided that that was the work I wanted to do.

I became part of our continuous improvement program here. Now, I lead the team as the chief improvement officer. It's great to be here. Thanks for the invite, Mark.

Mark: It's interesting how sometimes, a career can take a happy detour or change in direction from being exposed to some of these ideas. A lot of people in our audience have similar stories and similar pathways.

Dr. Yerian: A lot of us, we have passion on what we wanted to do. I wanted to make things better, make things better for people who were sick and suffering. The path I saw to do that when I was younger was to become a doctor and to practice medicine, and I still think that's a good and important path.

I had never been exposed to the type of methods, and practices, and the thinking, and philosophies that I began to learn about once I got here and started to learn about lean. What I saw in those was a whole new set of opportunities and a whole different way that I could make a difference for people.

I continue to practice medicine, but very much have gravitated towards that and expanded that as part of my career, trying to maximize the way we make things better for people and the number of people who are involved in doing that.

It wasn't something I ever expected. I expected to grow up and become an expert surgical pathologist, but this is pretty good.

Mark: It's very cool what you're doing. To the theme of the webinar, you talk about getting everybody involved. What does it mean, in a nutshell, to build a culture of empowerment?

Dr. Yerian: It's a great question, Mark. When we think about improving things and we look at the way that we drive improvement across my health system, what we saw about 10 years ago when we started this cultural transformation was that there was an expectation that improvement required us to bring in improvement experts.

We knew that was going to be rate-limiting. We can never get as good as we want to, provide as good of care and experience to as many people as we wanted it to if we were rate-limited by so-called experts.

We worked to shift that paradigm from you have to be an improvement expert, somebody who went to school in this and trained in this for years to, hey, we all have an opportunity to make a difference and make an impact. What does that look like? What can that look like, and how do we grow and maximize that?

In order to get there, we decided that we thought every one of our caregivers needs to be capable, empowered, and expected to make improvements every day. My observation here is that people want to make things better. It drives all of us crazy when things don't work well, especially in healthcare, but I'm sure in all of our jobs.

Many folks don't have the basic capability or visibility to the tools, or practices, or part of a team where everybody's working together to do that. That's what we've sought to build here. We're not there yet, so a lot of work to do.

I was excited to get the opportunity to step back, reflect, and share what we've learned with the community, in hopes that we'll continue to learn from each other, because we're all trying to figure out how to do this type of work much better than we do today.

Mark: There's a spirit of continuous improvement in the way you're trying to lead continuous improvement, so that's great. We look forward to hearing more about that on March 14th. Again, we've been joined by Dr. Lisa Yerian. Look forward to hearing and having everyone else here hear the fuller story and your lessons and your reflections in the webinar.

March 14th, you can register at kainexus.com/webinars. Lisa, thank you again for joining us today.

Dr. Yerian: Thank you so much, Mark. I appreciate the invitation.

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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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