Ryan McCormack’s Operational Excellence Mixtape: May 5th, 2023


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Insights about improvement, innovation, and leadership

Operational Excellence, Improvement, and Innovation

Rapid Re-Org Event?

Re-orgs stubbornly remain the go-to solution approach for transformations because they make a visible and tangible change, carry a lot of risks, and are notorious for failing to deliver on outcomes. How can organizations rapidly test to find out which organization design is best?

All improvement is incremental

One of the sillier debates that never seem to go away is the incremental change vs. radical/disruptive change, which often shows up in consulting worlds as a desire to make deep distinctions between ‘lean thinking' and ‘innovation engineering'. Here's yet another example of the pointless trope of “lean is for waste” and “innovation is for real improvement ideas”. All improvement is iterative and incremental – it's simply the size of the increment that varies.

A case in point, GE recently featured a jet-engine servicing plant's story of how it improved its supply chain processes, improving cash flow by $13.9 million. How? Frequent incremental adjustments, empowerment, freedom, and collaboration. The size or sexiness of ideas doesn't matter.  They are all important.

For some great reads on how innovation actually occurs check out Matt Ridley's books   The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge and   How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom

Chain of Learning

Renowned improvement coach Katie Anderson shares the 7 Cs of building an intentional culture of learning. I recommend any operational excellence practitioner check out Katie's best-selling book   Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn: Lessons from Toyota Leader Isao Yoshino on a Lifetime of Continuous Learning.

In Memoriam: Ritsuo Shingo

Mark Graban shares a tribute to Ritsuo Shingo, a former 40-year Toyota alumnus and teacher of continuous improvement principles, who passed away in April. 

Creating a Culture of Improvement

Change the way you change

There are different ways to make a change at organizations. One way is to simply control it – tell people what the change is and how to do it – also known as directive change. Another is to delegate it completely – ship a host of OCM tools, templates, and training to local management and let them run with it. These approaches can be quite effective for simple, straightforward change. But for complex, systemic changes, masterful or emergent approaches to change are more effective than the traditional tell-with-tools approaches

Make change management a core competency

Change management is just for projects, right? Maybe, but with increasing velocity and frequency of changes, change management is becoming recognized as a core competency rather than episodic occurrence.    

Change management is no longer some sub-specialty to be done on top of “regular management”. All management is change management.

Are we there yet?

When is strategy done? It's an important question for those who mistake strategic planning for strategy.

Coaching – Developing Self & Others

How to Influence Through Your Questions

Kwame Christian shares some great tips on how to use questions to influence others in  Episode 627 of Coaching for Leaders: How to Influence Through Your Questions with Kwame Christian

Humble confidence?

Does leading with humility mean being meek or pretending not to be confident? Not at all. Confidence and humility are not opposites but rather complementary

Time wasters

I'm guilty of these common unintentional ways you are wasting time.  

Learning from Mistakes

Several executives share what their biggest mistakes were and what they learned from them in Industry Week.

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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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