Ryan McCormack’s Operational Excellence Mixtape: February 23, 2024


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News, articles, books, podcasts, and videos about how to make the workplace better.

Operational Excellence, Improvement, and Innovation

Generative AI and Improvement

Early adopters are beginning to deploy generative AI as a productivity enabler, especially with desk support, back-office functions, and software development support.  Manufacturers are also seeing the potential for generative AI to elevate production systems and ensure continuous advancement.

How well is it working? It's undeniably the ‘next thing' for reducing direct costs, but I suspect it has a long way to go before becoming a viable and humane improvement strategy. But that won't prevent it from dominating the headlines for the foreseeable future.

75 Years of FMEA

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a staple of quality and improvement toolboxes around the world. FMEA was one of the first tools I learned as a process improvement engineer. I've personally applied this approach in manufacturing, healthcare, and financial services to engage others in understanding and prioritizing risk. Check out the history of FMEA and what's in store for FMEA in the Industry/Quality 4.0 era in 75 Years of FMEAs: 1949-2024.

Key Behaviour Indicator

As a student of the Shingo Model, I've practiced using Key Behaviour Indicators to bolster management systems and provide a leading indication of the health of systems meant to drive improvement. Understanding how a result is being achieved can be useful in advancing and scaling management systems and improvement. A colleague recommends learning more in Kbi: Learn what Key Behaviour Indicators are, their benefits over KPIs, and how they will build the company culture and brand you have been striving for by Richard A. Perry. Behaviour-based approaches have their limitations, but there is plenty to learn.

Creating a Culture of Improvement

Air Canada is now blaming its robots for poor service

Blaming employees for systemic failure is a time-honoured tradition of corporations. Air Canada takes it to the next level by suggesting that its chatbot is responsible for its actions after providing faulty advice to a grieving grandson. Luckily the court recognized this defense as “remarkable”.

What are Innovators Planning for 2024?

I suspect almost every organization now has “Innovation” as a key value, principle or goal going into 2024. Find out how the world's most innovative companies are thinking about creating a culture of innovation, driving collaboration, and measuring innovative success.

(Psychological) Safety First?

Safety is first – for many organizations. Is psychological safety evolving to the same level of strategic priority? I doubt it. The primacy of safety at organizations is in part due to decades of regulatory and legal pressures and not because of a pervasive moral obligation.

Coaching – Developing Self & Others

Resistance is Preventable

Resistance to change is inevitable, but how much of it is preventable with the right change management approach? As much as 40% of employee and manager resistance is preventable or can at least be mitigated

Your Performance Reviews are Probably BS

Marissa Orr shares some real talk on why performance reviews are BS, exploring the biases associated with ‘calibration' reviews and the pernicious practice of ranking people. There is no such thing as a real meritocracy in corporations, but that doesn't prevent most of them from engaging in meritocratic theatre.

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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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