Gemba Claus is Comin’ to Town! [Song]


Here's a musical holiday treat for my regular Lean Blog readers and podcast listeners, a song parody, originally released in 2009, remastered a bit in 2022:

“Gemba Claus is Comin' to Town”

Gemba Claus is Comin' to Town

Lyrics by Mark Graban
Performance by Steve Sholtes

Oh, you'd better watch out
You'd better kaizen
You'd better not pout, I'm tellin' ya then
Gemba Claus is comin' to town

He's making a list
Just checking it once
Doin' it twice would waste a whole bunch
Gemba Clause is comin' to town

He sees you when you're waitin'
He knows when your work flows
He knows if changeovers are too long
So do SMED  for goodness sake

Oh, you'd watch out
You'd better not pause
You'd better not pout
Find the real root cause
Gemba Claus is comin' to Town!

For voiceover work, music, or more, you can contact Steve via his website,

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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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.


  1. thanks for sharing Mark. Here is one written by Dr. Fine at Group Health.

    A Lean Christmas

    T’was the night before Christmas, and down on The Gemba

    Group Health is Leaner than we ever rememba

    Our leaders are nestled all snug in their beds

    While visions of Standard Work dance through their heads

    Dyad partner and I Huddle daily to Fish

    Continuous Improvement our big holiday wish.

    We’d just settled our brains for some real A3 Thinking


    From an RPIW there arose such a clatter

    (We wish they’d produce more ideas and less chatter)

    We flew like a flash to the latest Report-0ut

    To see what new work we’d now have to sort out

    What to our wondering eyes did appear

    But a Pacesetting Sensei—without one reindeer!

    Our Sensei was ever so lively and quick

    But he surely was nothing like good old St. Nick

    He made us feel Leaner than ever before

    He whistled and shouted Lean teachings galore:

    “Now Kaizen, now Kanban

    Now Value Stream Mapping

    On Muda and Mura

    And Minimal Staffing!”

    To the top of the Hedis score GHP will be shining

    Our Dashboard tachometers will all be red-lining!

    And then in a twinkling (even faster than that)

    Down the chimney our Sensei came with a Splat!

    He was dressed all in saffron from his cowel to his sandels

    He leaned on a cane of Toyotabrake handles

    A bundle of Lean tools was flung on his back

    An Air Traffic Controller and Lean maniac!

    His 5-Whys—how they sparkled! His A3—how downtown!

    His 5S was 3 Actuals walking fast from a Burndown!

    He had a Lean face and a sunken in belly

    When he laughed nothing shook like a bowlful of jelly

    He was, nonetheless, a right jolly old fox

    As Level as any Heijunka Box

    He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work

    And pulled on that ol’ Andon Cord with a jerk!

    Outcome Measured Production then ground to a halt

    That cord-pulling Sensei was sure worth his salt

    Then, laying his finger aside of his nose

    It was Just in Time—up the chimney he rose

    And I heard him exclaim as he Process Walked out of sight

    “Our Fat Years** are over—the Lean start tonight!”

    Copyright Alan Fine, MD, 2010


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