500 Episodes and Growing: The History and Evolution of the Lean Blog Podcast

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My guest for Episode #500 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is me, your usual host Mark Graban. Today, I'm mixing up the format with a solo episode that celebrates 500 episodes over almost 18 years.

I'll share some of the origin story and history of the podcast. You'll hear clips from Episode 1 (with Norm Bodek) and Episode 50 (where Jamie Flinchbaugh asked me about getting started). You'll also hear a clip from a recent conversation where Barry McCarthy, of AME Australia, asked me about persisting with podcasting all these years.

Thanks for listening, whether this is your first time, you've listened to them all, or somewhere in between!

The podcast is brought to you by Stiles Associates, the premier executive search firm specializing in the placement of Lean Transformation executives. With a track record of success spanning over 30 years, it's been the trusted partner for the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare sectors. Learn more.

This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network

Notes and Highlights:

  • More than 500 episodes in 921 weeks, a little more than one every two weeks for 17.75 years
  • 3,276,745 total downloads / listens, although I'm not convinced the stats are 100% consistent
  • The top 10 most downloaded episodes
  • The most frequent guests (#1 is Norman Bodek with 14 episodes)
  • One anonymous guest
  • Where listeners are from
  • The origin story and the intro to Episode #1
  • A clip from Episode #50
  • My reflections on the clunky podcast name
  • A shift over time from “big names” to highlighting new faces and their stories
  • The one time I forgot to record!
  • In memoriam: guests who have passed away


Full Video of the Episode:

No video this time… old school, audio only, the way the podcast started.


Thanks for listening or watching!

This podcast is part of the Lean Communicators network — check it out!


Automated Transcript (Not Guaranteed to be Defect Free)

Announcer:
Welcome to the Lean Blog Podcast. Visit our website@www.leanblog.org now here's your host, Mark Graban.

Mark Graban:
Hi, everybody. It's Mark Graban. It's episode 500. It's March 13, 2024. I'm going to enjoy, indulge myself in the sound of pretending like I'm hosting a show with a live audience.

Mark Graban:
But again, episode 500, I'm showing off my audio editing skills that I guess I've picked up along the way since starting this podcast. The first episode was released July 16, 2006 with Norman Bodek. We're going to hear a little bit of that audio. I'm going to play some other audio that shares the story about how this podcast got started. But this podcast probably, I'm quite certain, would not be a podcast without Norm Bodek, the late Norman Bodek, a great mentor and teacher and friend of mine.

Mark Graban:
We're going to hear Norman's voice a little bit here today. I would love to hear from you. If you have been listening from the beginning, from episode one, I don't know if there's somebody out there who has heard every single episode or at least has been listening regularly over the years. I would love to hear from you. Or if you have any other just reflections or recollections or something to share, you can email me.

Mark Graban:
Mark@markgraban.org so I'm calling this episode 500. There are actually more than 500 episodes out there in the feed. Some of them have been labeled bonus episodes for one reason or another, but this is officially number 500. So it's going to be a little bit different today. It's going to be me sharing some thoughts and data and reflections and a couple of stories, a couple of clips from past episodes.

Mark Graban:
So if you have been a regular listener, I hope you appreciate this. Again, thank you for indulging me and doing a little different episode here today. 921 weeks have passed since July 16, 2006. 500 episodes again. That's close enough.

Mark Graban:
500 numbered episodes over 921 weeks. That's a little more than one every two weeks. It's been a pretty consistent pace over those years, and I've kind of gotten into a rhythm in recent years of pretty regularly releasing an episode every two weeks. In the past, I would do a bunch of them weekly, and then I would take time off. And with other podcasts that I've started hosting, I'm kind of juggling those, my intents to keep going here every two weeks.

Mark Graban:
There's still a lot of people to talk to for the first time, to talk to again, lots of conversations, lots of learning to be had. So I'm curious to see how many more episodes I can make happen. My podcast hosting over time. I've had two different hosts, one a company called Hipcast. They were having a lot of technical problems.

Mark Graban:
I bailed out on them and switched over to a service called Podbean. Hipcast unfortunately went out of business. Their service stopped. So I'm not convinced that the old host and the current host count downloads or listens the same way. It's not as straightforward as counting the number of times a web page on the blog has been how many times that's happened.

Mark Graban:
But if you add up the old podcast host and the new podcast host, statistics take this number with a grain of salt, because I do. The total number of downloads or listens is 3,276,745. The ten top downloaded episodes. And a lot of this data is from hip cast because I was on that platform from 2006 until I think 2019 when I switched. Yeah, April 2019, the top ten downloaded episodes.

Mark Graban:
I'm just going to read them off and not the download numbers, just to give you some of the names that you may have heard in this podcast ranking. Number one most downloaded episode number 62 with Dr. John Toussaint. Then episode 158 with Art Byrne, formerly the CEO of Wiremold and a legend in the lean manufacturing world. Episode 186 my friend Jon Miller, who's been an author, he had a blog called Gemba Panta Rei.

Mark Graban:
He's one of the founders at Gemba Academy. Episode 292 featured the coauthors of a great book called Motivational Interviewing for Leadership. Episode 283, I guess, comes in at number five with Jim Lancaster, a manufacturing CEO and author. Episode 290 features Eric Ries, who, really, you could call the creator of the Lean startup movement. He wrote the book The Lean Startup and a follow-up, The Startup Wayg.

Mark Graban:
Eric's been on here a couple of times. Episode 217 with Alan Robinson, a professor and expert and author in Kaizen and continuous improvement. Episode 45 Gwendolyn Galsworth, an expert in particular about visuality and visual management. Episode 285 with Karen Martin, one of the many episodes she's done. We did a conversation around the topic.

Mark Graban:
She posed a question. She posed is lean dead? And rounding out the top ten. Episode 214 Michael Balle, the French lean author and consultant and speaker and part of the Lean Enterprise Institute Global Network. The top five episodes of I'll call it the Podbean era from April 2019 until now.

Mark Graban:
Jason Burt talking about lean and coaching. That was from February 2019. David B. Ried from Chick-fil-a talking about Lean and Kaizen there. John Dyer, author of the book The Facade of Excellence, also from 2019.

Mark Graban:
Quint Studor, one of his appearances with me from again December 2019. And then rounding out the top five, Amy Edmondson, a Harvard professor, talks about psychological safety, so the most downloaded episodes tend to be the older ones because they've been out there longer. And I don't know how many people go back and still listen to some of those old early episodes. It's definitely not the type of podcast where you need to start with episode one and work your way through a lot of the technology. I like to think the sound quality has gotten better over time.

Mark Graban:
I like to think I'm practicing continuous improvement in my hosting, my interviewing skills, my conversation skills, my listening skills, my audio production. The technology has improved, and I'll talk a little bit more about that evolution. But I also went through and came up with the list of the most frequent guests here on the podcast. Not surprisingly, Norm Bodek, who again really helped make this happen. He was a guest on 14 different episodes.

Mark Graban:
Jamie Flinchbaugh has been a guest with me nine times. We're going to hear a clip from him later. He interviewed me in episode 50, back when we were celebrating that, and then, of course, we started the Lean Whiskey podcast that we've been doing together. John Toussaint has been on nine times, Katie Anderson eight times, plus a GE bonus episode. A panel discussion that we recorded and shared in 2023.

Mark Graban:
Jeffrey Liker, episode eight, now eight times. He was on pretty early. One of those episodes was split into three parts, but I did talk to him again recently in episode 498. David Meier, author, co author of books with Jeff Like, including the Toyota Way Fieldbook. He's been on six times, plus a bonus episode that I shared in this feed from the My Favorite Mistake podcast.

Mark Graban:
Jim Womack has been a guest in six episodes, plus a GE that same GE bonus episode from last year. Bob Emiliani six times, Steve Spear six times, Jim Hunsinger six times, Dan Markovitz five times, Karen Martin four times, and Gwendolyn Gallsworth also four times. Now, I actually had one anonymous guest. I mean, I knew his name, but we didn't share that in the episode. It was episode 40.

Mark Graban:
And the title of the episode is an anonymous UAW retiree who's a passionate fan of Lean and TPS. He was not comfortable using his name. I don't know if it would have been awkward at the Union hall or with other retirees who were not big fans of lean and tps, but you can find that episode leanblog.org/40 and I'll put links to some of these other episodes in the show. Notes if we look at statistics, at least from here in the podbean era in recent years, where are listeners from? The US, where I'm based, 59%.

Mark Graban:
UK 5% Singapore 4% which, considering the small population of Singapore, it's great to have so many listeners there. Australia 3.5% Canada 3.3% Ireland 2.8% there's, if you will, a long tail. I didn't count up how many countries, but I do appreciate having such a global worldwide audience. And then across us states, the most listeners, that's a matter of population. California 12% Texas 7% New York 4% Illinois, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

Mark Graban:
Kind of round out the top six. And then one other piece of data or status trivia here. What platforms are you using? 62% of you listen through Apple podcasts, about 4% through Spotify, 3.8% through overcast, and then about three of you listening through Google Chrome. That might be people who are streaming episodes through the blog posts that I have for each episode.

Mark Graban:
And you can always find those if you know the episode number, leanblog.org. The digits anywhere from one to 500. Okay, so I didn't edit. I went back to count the number of countries. I'm going to avoid doing edits here.

Mark Graban:
I tend not to hide my mistakes and stumbles anymore. But I did pull up the stats and 142, another mistake. There is no header in that file. 142 countries. There are 195 countries in the world right now, and you get down to the bottom of the list and there's 800 and some listens that says unknown country.

Mark Graban:
But some of the countries that only have one download, maybe some of these, you would expect to be higher. The countries with one download include Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Suriname, Sudan, Malawi, Belarus, Madagascar, Isle of Man, Guernsey. I don't even know where Guernsey is. Aruba. Venezuela.

Mark Graban:
There's some countries with two downloads, including Mongolia. No, that was in the list of one. I'm a mistake machine today. Fiji, two downloads. Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Ghana, Zambia, Uruguay, Iraq, two downloads.

Mark Graban:
So there's a long tail, as they say, of people listening in a lot of different countries. Other countries that are in the 2% of download range include the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Taiwan, India, France, Mexico, Spain, Brazil. Really thrilled that you have taken time to tune in, whether it was once or more. So the origin story I've already told. Briefly, I'm going to play the intro to episode one and a little bit of the audio with Norm Bodek and then I'll jump back in and I'm going to share some episode 50 footage where Jamie Flinchbaugh asked me to tell some of that origin story.

Mark Graban:
So where I can I'll use a clip instead of telling the story again. So here's the beginning of episode one after the intro, music and the voice of the podcast, the announcer, my friend Steve Scholtes. But here's where I started off, introducing the podcast and Norman and the sound quality certainly is not as good, but here it goes. Welcome to the first ever Lean blog podcast. This is Mark Graban, creator of the Lean blog, and my guest today is Norman Bodek, one of the leading voices in the lean manufacturing world, and I'm very happy to have him here with us.

Mark Graban:
But first, a little bit about this podcast. It's my first attempt. You'll notice I'm not a professional broadcaster. I'm a lean consultant. I've worked with Lean as an engineer and a consultant for about twelve years, and I started what was then the lean manufacturing blog in early 2005 when I was working as an internal lean change agent for a large manufacturing company.

Mark Graban:
I continued the blog as I moved last August into a new role as a lean healthcare consultant working in hospital settings. And so the website evolved into what we call simply the Lean blog because it's about manufacturing, healthcare, and aspects of lean that really do apply in any sort of industry. The blog has been really a great learning opportunity for me. I'm hoping that this podcast will expand my learning, and I'm hoping that others are going to join me in that learning journey. So this is the first of what.

Mark Graban:
I hope will be a monthly series of podcasts, each of them an interview with a leader or an innovator in the lean world. And today I start with Norm Bodek. He's the president of PCS Press, a publishing, training and consulting company based in Vancouver, Washington. He discovered and published the works of the truly great Japanese manufacturing geniuses Dr. Shigeo Shingo and Taiichi Ohno, the inventors of the Toyota production system.

Mark Graban:
From his numerous trips to Japan, he introduced to the western world the Kaizen blitz, single minute exchange of dyes, total productive maintenance, Hoshin Kanri, Poka Yoke, and other new manufacturing methodologies that have helped companies improve their quality and productivity around the world. Norman has written countless books, including The Idea Generator, Quick and Easy Kaizen, and his most recent book, Kaikaku: The Power and Magic of Lean. You can find more about Norman and his books at his website, www.pcspress.com. Norman I want to thank you very much for being here on the first Lean blog podcast. It really is a pleasure to have you here.

Announcer:
Well, Mark, I want to thank you very much for doing this with me. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. We'll talk a lot of management issues. Hopefully this will stimulate a lot of people out there to focus more on continuous improvement. And our first one, we're going to talk about the quick and easy Kaizen, what this means, why it's so important, and why I think it's the heart of the Toyota production system.

Mark Graban:
So again, if you'd like to hear that first episode, I've done what I can to remaster the audio quality, some noise reduction and what have you. But you can hear what we're saying. And if you want to hear Norman again, go to leanblog.org. One. Here's a clip from episode 50 where my good friend Jamie Flinchbaugh asked me to talk about how the podcast got started.

Mark Graban:
And again, my apologies for the audio quality. Even with the remastering, it sounds like we recorded this across two tin cans in a very long string. But here it is.

Jamie Flinchbaugh:
Hello. This is Jamie Flinchbaugh, the Lean Learning center guest hosting on the Lean Blog podcast for Mark Graban, and we have a special guest with us. It is, in fact, lean blog podcast and blog founder Mark Raven. So welcome, Mark.

Mark Graban:
Hi, Jamie. Thanks, and I appreciate you taking over for the episode.

Jamie Flinchbaugh:
Absolutely. Well, this is a special event, your 50th podcast. So we thought we'd turn the tables and let you be interviewed and be the subject of this podcast. So, for starters, did you ever think you would get to 50 podcasts?

Mark Graban:
No, I didn't. And thanks for signing me up for another 50. But it's been a really enjoyable experience these two years. I give all the credit for even coming up with the idea to a good friend of the podcast, Norman Bodek, where we had done some Q and A on the blog and kind of typed out emailed form and he said, well, we should do a radio interview, as he called it. And I thought, well, I think what we really need to do is make it a podcast.

Mark Graban:
And so he was the first guest, and then you came on and ended up doing now 50 of them over two years with a lot of different guests and a lot of good topics.

Jamie Flinchbaugh:
Absolutely. And Norman's always thinking. So certainly he's been a guest several times. So you've had a wide, wide range of guests. Was there a favorite guest or favorite topic you've covered in these podcasts?

Mark Graban:
Well, thanks again to Jamie for doing that and following up to do that again. At some other point when I think measures of success, one of my books was released. I wimped out. I didn't have an answer. I wouldn't have a good answer now of who is a favorite guest, your favorite episode.

Mark Graban:
But if you'd like to hear those reflections about 50 episodes, you can go to leanblog.org50/. Jamie is no longer with the lean Learning center. He sold that. You can find him online these days jflinch.com. So the podcast, my gosh, we went from Jamie asking, would you believe that you did 50 episodes?

Mark Graban:
I guess we get asked that same question here. Would I believe I've done 500 episodes? I guess once you've hit 5500, seemed inevitable. I still have my voice. I still have my health.

Mark Graban:
I'm still here. I'm looking forward to doing many, many more. Now this podcast, and I'll admit maybe it still does, it has a clunky name, lean blog podcast. Again, back in 2006, I didn't know what I didn't know. The name has evolved a little bit.

Mark Graban:
So the history of the name leanblog.org is still my blog. I started doing the podcast. Okay, well, it's from the Lean blog. It's a podcast. Lean Blog Podcast.

Mark Graban:
Steve Scholtes still says that in the intro, but I've started to calling it in the podcast feed and different settings, calling it Lean blog interviews because again, it's housed on the blog. It's based on the blog. It is generally interviews, this episode aside, but my podcasting there has led to additional podcast series that I've done. I invite you to subscribe to them if you're interested. So one I started was called Lean blog audio, where I basically read blog posts like an audiobook type format.

Mark Graban:
So instead of interviews, that's just me talking, reading blog posts, adding some commentary sometimes. So I wanted to differentiate lean blog interviews and lean blog audio. I mentioned Jamie and I started the Lean Whiskey podcast. You can find that leanwhiskey.com in my involvement with KaiNexus. I still manage and produce and host episodes there in the KaiNexus Continuous Improvement podcast.

Mark Graban:
Habitual Excellence presented by Value Capture is something I started when I was working a lot with them, started that in 2020, that podcast continues. I'm no longer hosting it, but that podcast continues, thankfully. And then in late 2020, I started the my Favorite mistake podcast. And I invite you to check that out myfavoritemistakepodcast.com. Or just mistakespodcast.com, or you can search for any of these wherever you're listening to this podcast.

Mark Graban:
So over time, my guests have pulled heavily from categories. There's overlap here of authors, consultants, professors, practitioners, executives. I think over time I've shifted away. Like early on I was really trying to invite, if you will, the big names in the lean world. Jim Womack, Jeff Liker, John Shook, Steve Spear, to name a know it's Karen Martin as a very popular author.

Mark Graban:
Eric Ries some people in the lean startup world, but I still enjoy talking to people like that. But early on, part of my motivation for doing the podcast was networking and building relationships and getting to know people. Now it's 18 years later. I'm that much further along in my career. I've got a lot of gray hair now, and so now I try to use this platform to bring people on who aren't big names, but people who've done great work.

Mark Graban:
They have interesting stories, innovative stories. So I think the mix of people on the podcast and the diversity of guests on the podcast is something that I've focused on much more in recent years. Before someone else criticizes me for it, I'll call out kind of embarrassing history is that the first 25 guests on the podcast were all men. Not 25 different men, but the 25 episodes and then Gwendolyn Galsworth, I believe it was. Episode 26 was the first woman as a guest.

Mark Graban:
And there's a number of reasons for that you can think about, or we could talk about, but I really have been more committed to reaching out to women, to people of color, and making sure that our guests, at least more closely represent the listeners and the diversity out there. Another shift over time is that the episodes have gotten longer. The technology makes it easier to download and listen, and more importantly, restart an episode. Like back in the day, I tried to keep episodes to about 25 minutes, because if you were downloading episodes to an mp3 player, I'd love to hear from you if you're in that category. I used to do that.

Mark Graban:
You really wanted to be able to start and listen to the whole podcast because it was hard to go back and restart, or you might not be prompted to go back and do so. So 25 minutes would cover the length of a lot of people's commutes. Well, then, over time, with smartphones and technology changing, these are long-form episodes. They're probably, on average, now 50-plus minutes. I hope that's more value to you, the listener, but that's been one shift over time.

Mark Graban:
So 500 episodes, boy, this is just me off the top of my head. We'll call it an average of about 40 minutes per episode. That's like 300 hours, 333 hours, roughly, of listening in the podcast. And again, if you think you've listened to most or all of it, please reach out to me. Mark@markgraban.org I'll come up with some sort of prize or certificate based on the honor system here, I think.

Mark Graban:
But another thing I'm going to talk about is the shift in technologies. So I started recording these using Skype. There was some software that you could use, and this was on Windows PC, and then I started using Mac, but it was always Skype. There was some software that you could buy and plug in that would record the conversation. But a lot of the people I was interviewing weren't really using Skype digitally on their computer.

Mark Graban:
There was a phone number that they could call into to connect through to Skype. So I had an external microphone. It wasn't as good as what I use now. A lot of my guests are talking on the phone, and boy, the sound quality of those older episodes kind of reflects that. It's the difference between AM radio, FM radio, and satellite radio.

Mark Graban:
I think it's the sound quality has gotten better over time. I've been using Zoom that was pre pandemic and not surprisingly, back to Norman Bodek for a minute. It was his idea to start the podcast. The first person I ever heard about Zoom from was Norman, because Norman would talk about, he probably talked about this in an episode of how he could use Zoom to teach and coach people anywhere in the world without leaving his office, and he still was traveling a lot. But he told me about Zoom, and the recording quality generally is a lot better.

Mark Graban:
People generally now have faster Internet, better microphones. And then I have been in recent years, in the past year, maybe using a platform called Streamyard to record episodes and one of the other shifts, and this was really around pandemic era episodes for the most part were audio only. I had done a few experiments with Norman, with Matthew May, with Sami Bahri, the lean dentist, if you will, a few short video episodes that I can remember. But now between Zoom and Streamyard, it's very easy. Everyone's got a webcam now.

Mark Graban:
Most episodes are audio and video, and that's just kind of part of how things have shifted over time. So before I come back and tell a couple other stories and reflections, I'm going to play a clip from a recent conversation that I had with Barry McCarthy from AME Australia. We did a fireside chat together mostly for an Australia audience. But Barry was asking me about podcasting, and with permission, I'm going to play a clip of that for some additional reflections about some of the history of the podcast.

Barry McCarthy:
I really enjoyed our conversations in the back of the bus as well about your perseverance and ability to continue to churn out content. And I think it's rather unique that you've run a podcast for 18 years or more on lean and then you've started a new one. That's real persistence, perseverance. You've written eight or nine books. Tell us a bit about that whole journey of publicity and publishing that you've taken on board.

Mark Graban:
Yeah, I think churn out is a compliment. I'm going to choose to take it that way. Barry, think of churning out butter. I like butter. People like butter.

Mark Graban:
So, yeah, I guess that's a good thing. Yeah. I'm almost at 500 episodes of the first podcast that I started in 2006 called Lean Blog interviews. It's a clunky name. I could have changed it at some point.

Mark Graban:
At some point I thought the name is a mistake because it's clunky. But a year before, in 2005, I had started a blog that was popular at the time. I still do the blog, leanblog.org. And then the podcast was an extension of the blog. And I don't know, people didn't know how to name podcasts, I guess, or I didn't know.

Mark Graban:
I didn't know how to name a podcast. But I think the content is the key thing as opposed to the name and the story. Yeah, there's the blog. I give credit to Norman Bodek for the podcast. I don't know if I would have ever had the idea.

Mark Graban:
He gave me the gift of that idea. We had done an email exchange interview. It's just all written text that published on my blog. And that was interesting. And Norman was so insightful on Toyota history and meeting Shingo and Kaizen principles and practices.

Mark Graban:
Norman said to me one day and said, you should do a radio interview with me. And owning neither a radio station or having a radio show, not even owning a microphone. Norman, I think I turned that idea into podcast. And looking back, I'm grateful that I think there's other examples of where I'm wired, instead of just saying, no, I can't do that. Like, no, I couldn't do.

Mark Graban:
I mean, maybe I could have tried to get a radio show, but podcast was doable and I kind of just had a little study and adjust cycle on Norman's initial idea. So I'm forever grateful to him for that.

Barry McCarthy:
Yeah, Norman was an interesting character, and I had a few conversations when he moved back to Japan just before he passed away.

Mark Graban:
So, as I discuss in my favorite mistake podcast and my most recent book, The Mistakes That Make Us, I make a lot of mistakes. There was one time, and for the life of me, I cannot remember which guest I did this to. There was one time, and only one time, that I forgot to record. I just literally forgot back in that Skype era to click record. And as I tend to do, I fessed up to it.

Mark Graban:
I didn't make up some sort of story or blame the technology. I reached out to that guest and said, I'm really sorry. We had a really good 30 minutes together. I didn't record it. And I tell you that guest, what I do remember vividly is how gracious they were in terms of saying, well, I'm paraphrasing, but basically their tone was so kind.

Mark Graban:
And they said, mistakes happen. Let's call that a practice session, and we'll do it again. I'll probably be better, and I'm grateful for that. Now, one time in the last couple of years, there was a similar thing that happened to me when I was a guest on a podcast. They were kind of saying it was technical issues.

Mark Graban:
I think they forgot to hit record. But I tried to be as gracious in return of saying, okay, well, things happen. We all make mistakes. Let's do it again. And we did.

Mark Graban:
I once had a hard drive crash on a Windows laptop. This was back when it was a spinning hard drive susceptible to crashes and failures. I've certainly had a number of them, including once on a MacBook, going back 15 years.

Mark Graban:
So I had a hard drive crash immediately after the recording. It's one of those where I planned on using the video. It's going to be an early experiment there. I was able to find and extract the audio of that I think had been backed up, but not the video. Now I have multiple real time backup systems running.

Mark Graban:
If I record it through Streamyard, it's up in the cloud. If I'm working on it on my computer, it's being backed up in real time to a cloud service. And I think also Apple iCloud. And I'm also using Apple time machine. It's two belts and two suspenders to avoid losing audio and having any problems like that.

Mark Graban:
So 500 episodes. I was looking back through some of the patterns again with guests. There have been CEOs or president or business owner in at least 35 episodes. A few that come to mind and meaningful to me in different ways. Dean Gruner, when he was CEO of Thetacare, Dr.

Mark Graban:
Gruner, in addition to Dr. John Toussaint, I was able to interview Paul O'Neill, former CEO of Alcoa. That was very special to me. Many, many healthcare CEOs, including Eric Dickson from UMass Memorial, two different hospital CEOs from South Africa, Gladys Bogashi and Grey Dubai. Many other CEOs from manufacturing healthcare.

Mark Graban:
Gary Michel, the CEO, now former CEO of Jed-Weln Company. A couple other CEOs recently, Mike Kaeding from Norhart, a construction company. Rich Sheridan, CEO of Meno Innovations has been on here a couple of times. Randy Carr, CEO of World Emblem was a guest recently. He's in the president list here.

Mark Graban:
Karl Wadensten. Karl from VIBCO. He used to have a radio show that talked about Lean. So many fun people who I've interviewed through the podcast series. Some other people I was really excited to talk to for different reasons include Bob Lutz, former auto industry executive legend.

Mark Graban:
He's really an automotive executive, hall of Fame guy. He was on here. I mentioned Eric Reese, Tom Peters, another legendary management author, Dr. Rick Shannon, who's had quality and patient safety leadership roles at many health systems. Daniel Pink, the author has been very kind to me.

Mark Graban:
He's been on here twice talking about his book's drive. And then I think we also talked about his book to sell is human. I could be making a mistake there. Professor Amy Edmondson from Harvard Business School, who I think I mentioned, and Dr. Randall Pinkett.

Mark Graban:
We had some MIT connections. He was the first black winner on the show the Apprentice and we had a great conversation with him and a co author talking about lean and continuous improvement and dei back in 2020. Now having done this again for 16 years, 500 episodes. The final list here, sadly, sort of like the oscars did the other night, and they do every year, is an in memorial section, at least guests who I know of passing away since recording with. So of course that list sadly includes Norman Bodek, podcast again, wouldn't have started without him, wouldn't have continued probably without all of his encouragement and support.

Mark Graban:
Harry Kenworthy, who had written a book about lean government and we talked about that. Greg Howell, who had been, I believe, the founder of the Lean Construction Institute. Ralph Keller, former president of AME in the US, the Association for Manufacturing Excellence. Dr. Michel Tetrault, hospital CEO from Winnipeg, Canada, who I got, spent a lot of time with Michel through Catalysis and the Healthcare Value Network and shared some audio with him on the podcast.

Mark Graban:
And again, Paul O'Neill, senior former CEO of AlcoA. He was also former treasury secretary for two years under George W. Bush and just probably the greatest advocate, CEO advocate for safety and lean and continuous improvement that we've had in the US, maybe ever.

Another is Ritsuo Shingo, son of Shigeo Shingo, who had a long career at Toyota. I first met him because of Norm Bodek… and was happy to have him as a guest on the podcast.

Two other people that I would put in the category know we lost them way too young. Nate Hurle, who had a continuous improvement leadership role at Cleveland Clinic.

Mark Graban:
Nate was somebody I spent a lot of time with, some visits to Cleveland clinic, conferences, hospital visits, and then Chris Burnham, who passed away last year. Most recently, we had been able to work together through Kinexis, a software company that I've worked with. Chris and I had known each other for six or seven years. Great guy. Lost him also way too young.

Mark Graban:
And then most recently, we lost everybody sooner than we would have wanted to. David Mann passed away very late 2023. He had been a guest with me a number of times, talking about his book creating a lean culture and everything he had learned about lean management systems. So unlike the Oscars, they don't end the night with the in memorial part of the event. So I didn't really plan that out real well here.

Mark Graban:
But let me end on a positive note. I want to thank you for listening. Whether you've heard one episode or a handful or a bunch or all of them, I know you're busy. I know there are so many demands on your time, work, life, family, fun. There are so many, many more podcasts than there were back in 2006.

Mark Graban:
There are more people who know how to download and listen to podcasts nowadays. But I really do appreciate the time that you choose to spend with me and my guests. That means a lot, and I hope I continue delivering value. Interesting, fun, informative, inspiring conversations here on the clunkily named Lean Blog interviews podcast. So again, I'm mark Raven celebrating episode 500.

Mark Graban:
I hope you'll come back for more. Thanks.

Announcer:
For listening. This has been the Lean blog podcast for lean news and commentary, updated daily. Visit www.leanblog.org. If you have any questions or comments about this podcast, email mark at leanpodcast@gmail.com.


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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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