From Failure to Foresight: The Shingo Institute’s Ken Snyder’s Favorite Mistake


In this week's episode of “My Favorite Mistake,” we're lucky to have Ken Snyder, a celebrated figure in the realm of business and academia as our guest. Currently serving as the Executive Director at the Shingo Institute and a senior lecturer at Utah State University, Ken's journey has been characterized by accomplishments and valuable lessons.

In his early years, he developed a deep interest in Japanese business customs, eventually leading him to pursue a major in Japanese History at the University of Utah. He then earned an MBA from the prestigious Harvard Graduate School of Business.

His professional journey hasn't been devoid of mistakes on the way, but those mistakes led him to draw some vital lessons.

In the episode, Ken Snyder shares his favorite mistake or, as he puts it, the biggest thing he couldn't figure out at the time. He recounts his time as the president of a company called Progressive Impressions in the 1990s. The company was a leading database marketing company that provided marketing services for distributed sales networks. Ken recalls that during this period, he noticed a recurring problem where employees didn't follow the agreed-upon processes. He discovered these deviations either by observing them accidentally or when someone admitted to doing it their way instead of the agreed method. This lack of adherence to processes led to frustrations and inefficiencies. Through his experience, Ken realized the importance of ensuring that employees follow standard processes and preventing deviations. This insight became a valuable lesson for him in his journey towards continuous improvement.

Join us as we delve into Ken Snyder's success, exploring his mistakes and learning how they've shaped him into the profound leader he is today.

Episode Video:

Podcast Audio

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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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