Ryan McCormack’s Operational Excellence Mixtape: July 28th, 2023


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Insights about improvement, innovation, and leadership

Operational Excellence, Improvement, and Innovation

Give me some of that old-time lean

Looking for a reminder that ‘old school' lean principles are still kicking around and delivering value? GE Vernova's Onshore Wind Business is pursuing zero defects by ‘stopping the line' to address quality issues

15 Minutes That Transformed Cleveland Clinic

I can speak from experience that a tiered huddle system is an inexpensive and effective approach for raising risks, getting problem-solving to the right place quickly and developing a culture of safety and improvement. It's simple, but not easy. There are many barriers, primarily people related (i.e. “We don't have 15 minutes to huddle”).  The Cleveland Clinic has been perfecting the tiered huddle system for many years (the article says the last 5 years, but it's been longer). 

Wiring the Winning Organization

Can you wire an organization for excellence? Legendary operational excellence researcher Steven Spear, author of the seminal article Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System and classic operational excellence book  The High-Velocity Edge: How Market Leaders Leverage Operational Excellence to Beat the Competition) is releasing a new book in November 2023,  Wiring the Winning Organization: Liberating Our Collective Greatness through Slowification, Simplification, and Amplification.

In this article, Spear previews the book by sharing 3 traits of a winning management system and discusses them in an hour-long webinar  Wiring the Winning Organization with MIT's Steven Spear.

Creating a Culture of Improvement

In Praise of Middle Managers

Being a manager has never been harder nor more important, yet organizations continue to struggle to properly equip and support managers to be successful. Emily Field shares her views on why managers are increasingly important and how organizations can develop and support managers in episode 923 of HBR Ideacast In Defense of Middle Management. Field also shares how managers can contribute to developing and recruiting top talent in Don't Eliminate Your Middle Managers. I'm looking forward to Field's new book  Power to the Middle: Why Managers Hold the Keys to the Future of Work.

Change management isn't an add-on

Change management has long been an add-on –  a checklist item or project plan task for a technology roll-out. But in an era of digital transformation, change management is not a “one-and-done” task but an integral part of a user-centred approach. Organizational change management is the people side of digital transformation.

An open letter to busy leadership teams

Dear leadership team: you have too many priorities. Please focus.

Leaders are too tired for “servant leadership”

“You're here to serve customers”. “You're here to serve your teams”. Servant leadership has been an on-again-off-again management model for the last 40 years, but a lot has changed in management. Leaders are burning out and have less in the tank to be dedicated to serving everyone else. Is it time to rethink servant leadership and rather become a “purpose-driven leader”?

Coaching – Developing Self & Others

Growth Mindset “Today”

You know ‘growth mindset' has gone mainstream when it's on The Today Show.


How often should you practice something to make it a habit? Daily-ish.

Schedule some “Think Time” every week

Many leaders (most even) are overscheduled to the point where they don't have time to think or reflect. Reflection time is critical for self-development and improvement, Schedule, value, and protect think time in your calendar.

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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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