Lean Blog Interviews

Mark Graban

Mark Graban interviews leaders and innovators in the Lean thinking world.

Topics will include Lean manufacturing, Lean healthcare, Lean production, Lean startups, and Lean enterprise. Visit the blog at www.leanblog.org. For feedback, email

All Episodes

http://www.leanblog.org/385My guest for Episode #385 of the podcast is Emily Elrod, the president of the firm Workzbe, based in Georgia.We have shared interests in Lean, ergonomics, healthcare and creating better workplaces. We met earlier this year and she was kind enough to interview me for her YouTube channel.As she describes in the episode, her career has evolved from designing equipment, to wellness and Lean in a health system, to her own firm. Her WISE framework means to work Well, Intelligent, Safe, and Empowered.We'll talk about the need to be “HOT” (Humble, Open, and Transparent), the psychology of change, and more.“I think the biggest threat to health promotion is doing things to people instead of with them.” Emily ElrodI hope you enjoy the conversation like I did. 

Sep 21

56 min

http://www.leanblog.org/384Joining me today for Episode #384 of the podcast is Craig Gygi, co-author of the book Six Sigma for Dummies. He also managing principal and owner of the firm Strategic Productivity. You can read his full bio there. He also has an online course called “Truth About Data” which covers statistical process control for business metrics, as I have written about.So, we have that shared interest in data, statistical methods, and problem solving even if he comes at it from a Six Sigma perspective (starting from his days at Motorola) and me from a Lean perspective.Craig's previous leadership roles include:COO, PurpleExecutive VP of Operations, MasterControlDirector Operational Excellence, Fiji WaterI hope you enjoy the conversation like I did. You can listen to the audio or watch the video, below. 

Sep 10

60 min

http://www.leanblog.org/383Joining me today for Episode #383 of the podcast is Patrick Anderson, the CEO of the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc. (or "RurAL CAP"). Patrick was previously a guest way back in Episodes #53 and #71.Today, we'll talk how ideas from Dr. W. Edwards Deming and Lean have influenced him as he has led different organizations. He shares thoughts about shifting an organization away from a "command and control" approach, what "respect for people" means to him, and he'll also talk about their "performance management system."I hope you enjoy the conversation. 

Aug 31

66 min

Learn more: http://leanblog.org/audio309Subscribe: http://myfavoritemistakepodcast.com/ 

Aug 28

12 min

https://www.leanblog.org/382 for show notes and moreI'm really excited to be speaking to my guest for Episode #382 of the podcast… he is the legendary Tom Peters — author, speaker, and consultant. His response to me calling him “legendary” at the start of the episode gives you a glimpse into the fun conversation we had on some very important topics.Today, we'll be talking about his “Excellence Manifesto 2020” and a theme he has tweeted about a lot, leading amongst the “madness of Covid-19.”He is the author of 18 books, including:In Search of Excellence (1982) — Dan Pink (my guest in Episode #107) said (here) that it launched the modern biz book genreThriving on Chaos (1987)Liberation Management The Pursuit of WOW!I've been a huge fan of Tom's since I first saw him give a speech around 1997 or so. The story about Motorola's “six sigma chocolate chip cookies” (read about it here) stuck with me and my recall of that story leads to Tom talking about the risk of any good program becoming codified and bureaucratic, as we discuss early in the podcast.Highlights of Tom's background and early career include:Civil Engineering, CornellUS NavyMBA and PhD at StanfordWhite House / OMB (Nixon)McKinseyVirtually all Tom's written and speech material covering the last 15+ years is available — free to download — at tompeters.com and excellencenow.com.Much of what Tom says will resonate with Lean practitioners — his focus on people, the need for leaders to really love leading people, and Management by Wandering Around (an approach that might be more like Lean “gemba visits” than you might think).As with his writing, Tom often speaks in ALL CAPS (which I love). With that does come some mild cursing — like a PG-13 movie, but I still need to give it the Apple Podcasts “explicit” rating I do warn you if you are listening in an open workplace with others (and if you are, wear a mask!).I hope you enjoy the conversation, whether you listen or watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/7KEqp7vJl9w

Aug 23

71 min

http://www.leanblog.org/381Joining me for the ninth time on the podcast, for Episode #381, is Dr. John Toussaint, chairman of Catalysis. John is author or co-author of three books -- well actually it's four books, as a new one is available for pre-order now with an expected September 1st release: Becoming the Change: Leadership Behavior Strategies for Continuous Improvement in Healthcare.Today, we'll talk about the new book a bit (but we'll save most of that conversation for an upcoming episode with both John and his co-author Kim Barnas).I ask John about healthcare organizations that have been doing really good work during the Covid-19 pandemic. One of those is UMass Memorial Health Care (check out my "Habitual Excellence" podcast with their CEO Dr. Eric Dickson). Another related podcast I've done on that topic is a conversation with Paul Pejsa, also with Catalysis.We also talk about the need to adapt with conferences, as the annual Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit is now a one-day online virtual event this year. We'll also hear some of John's thoughts on the future of healthcare.I also want to mention a free webinar that John and Kim will be presenting on Wednesday, as part of the KaiNexus webinar series. Click here to register.I hope you enjoy the conversation, whether you listen or watch. 

Aug 16

38 min

This is an excerpt from Episode #380 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast. Host Mark Graban interviews Dr. Randal Pinkett and Dr. Jeffrey Robinson and, in this clip, they reflect on Randal winning "The Apprentice" (the only person of color to do so) and how Donald Trump asked him if he would share the prize with the runner up, a white woman (Rebecca Jarvis). For a transcript and the entire episode, visit http://leanblog.org/380.

Aug 11

10 min

https://www.leanblog.org/380Today's episode, #380, is very special to me for a number of reasons. For one, it's part of the #RootCauseRacism series that Deondra Wardelle has organized on my blog this week. Secondly, I'm joined by Dr. Randal Pinkett and Dr. Jeffrey Robinson to talk about important issues of race, diversity, and equity in organizations. Together, they are co-authors of the book Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness and the upcoming book (2021) Black Faces in High Places.Randal Pinkett, Ph.D. is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and community servant. Randal is the co-founder, Chairman and CEO of his fifth venture, BCT Partners, a multimillion dollar management, technology and policy consulting firm in Newark, NJ, a partner in Blackwell-BCT, a joint venture with Blackwell Consulting Services, and spokesperson for the Minority Information Technology Consortium. He is a Rhodes Scholar and former college athlete who holds five academic degrees from Rutgers, Oxford and MIT (including the Leaders for Global Operations program). He was also famously the first and only black winner of “The Apprentice,” something we will talk about today.Jeffrey A. Robinson, Ph.D. is an award winning business school professor, international speaker and entrepreneur. Since 2008, he has been a leading faculty member at Rutgers Business School where he is an assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship and the founding Assistant Director of The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development. The Center is a unique interdisciplinary venue for innovative thinking and research on entrepreneurial activity and economic development in urban environments. He has an MS in Civil Engineering Management from Georgia Tech University and a Ph.D. in Management from Columbia University.In the episode, we talk about workplace issues related to diversity and inclusion. Should we aspire to a “color blind” world or do we need to recognize and celebrate color? What can we do to turn “white places” into more inclusive places for all? How can the “innovation economy” be made more inclusive, and why is that important?You'll also hear Randal talk about recently re-watching his season of The Apprentice online with his daughter. You can watch a separate 8-minute clip (an excerpt from the full interview) if you are particularly interested in his reflections about winning and being asked to share his win with the runner up. What did Randal learn while working in the Trump Organization?I hope you enjoy the conversation, whether you listen or watch (or read the transcript below).

Aug 11

54 min

To enter Katie's contest: https://www.leanblog.org/katiecontest This bonus episode follows up on #379 with Katie

Aug 7

6 min

https://www.leanblog.org/379 My guest for Episode #379, joining me for the fifth time, is Katie Anderson, author of the newly-released book Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn: Lessons from Toyota Leader Isao Yoshino on a Lifetime of Continuous Learning. In today's episode, we talk about how the book came to be and we, of course, talk about the process — the process of writing and publishing. You might also be interested in the webinar that Katie presented about some themes in the book, along with the separate extended Q&A session that we did.I hope you enjoy the conversation, whether you listen or watch.

Aug 3

36 min

This is a portion of a much longer interview (Lean Blog Interviews Episode #378):  I'm joined by Christopher D. Chapman, Senior Lean Transformation Coach at Chapman Lean Enterprise and Dr. Valeria Sinclair-Chapman,  a social scientist, Associate Professor, and Director of the Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion at Purdue University. I was first introduced to Chris through his article that was published on the Lean Enterprise Institute's “The Lean Post” section titled “Lean in Lean Thinkers to Root Out Racial Inequity.” He also has a follow up article called “Our Burning Platform and Using the 5 Whys to Think More Deeply about Corrective Action” with more to come.

Jul 29

22 min

https://www.leanblog.org/378  Joining me for Episode #378 are Christopher D. Chapman, Senior Lean Transformation Coach at Chapman Lean Enterprise and Dr. Valeria Sinclair-Chapman,  a social scientist, Associate Professor, and Director of the Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion at Purdue University. I was first introduced to Chris through his article that was published on the Lean Enterprise Institute's "The Lean Post" section titled "Lean in Lean Thinkers to Root Out Racial Inequity." He also has a follow up article called "Our Burning Platform and Using the 5 Whys to Think More Deeply about Corrective Action" with more to come. As he wrote:"Lean leaders have a crucial role to play. We have long practiced and taught clients Respect for People as the moral core of lean thinking. As LEI states, leading respectfully not only improves business results but also the lives of workers, their families, their community, and, ultimately, society." I reached out to Chris to see if he'd want to discuss his article in a podcast and he was quick to bring his wife, Val, into the conversation, given her academic credentials and her experience working with organizations on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). In the episode, all three of us discuss the intersection and overlap between Lean transformation and DEI. Changing the culture of an organization is difficult and it requires a willingness to call out problems as a start. This is a different topic than other podcast episodes. It's also a much longer episode than usual... because it's an important discussion, it was thought provoking, challenging (for me), but it was also friendly and spirited in a positive way. I hope you agree. I invite you to join us. This topic might be outside of your comfort zone... it was for me, but that made it all the more worth doing. 

Jul 29

113 min

http://www.leanblog.org/377 My guest for Episode #377 is Ritu Ward, an experienced healthcare executive who has had success delivering quality, growth, and strategy while leading high performing teams.We have known each other for a while through Lean healthcare circles and she presented a webinar in our KaiNexus series titled, “Leadership Behaviors to Guide Effective Change.”She was, until recently, the Regional Vice President for Mercy Labs in the West Region. Ritu also worked previously for Carolinas Healthcare, in a Performance Excellence role. She's currently looking for her next opportunity.Today, we'll talk about the leadership styles that help create a Lean culture. She also shares thoughts on how her leadership style had to change during the Covid-19 crisis, thoughts on leading change, and more.

Jul 20

58 min

http://www.leanblog.org/376 Joining me for Episode #376 of the podcast is Lauren Hisey, a continuous improvement coach and consultant at her firm, Lauren Hisey Consulting. Before becoming a consultant, Lauren worked for AT&T and Nielsen in various technical and Lean Six Sigma roles. She has a BA in Political Science and Government and an MBA. Read more about Lauren via her bio.Today, we talk about the interface and overlap between concepts like Lean, Six Sigma, and Artificial Intelligence. Why do companies need to avoid jumping to solutions, including technology solutions like Robotic Process Automation? Why does the "respect for people" principle of Lean, from Toyota, mean that we shouldn't focus on replacing people with technology?I hope you enjoy the conversation, whether you listen or watch. 

Jul 14

45 min

http://www.leanblog.org/375 My guest for Episode #375 of the podcast is Mohamed Saleh, Ph.D.  Dr. Saleh has been a practitioner in Lean & Six Sigma transformations, in both manufacturing and service sectors. Mohamed was directly mentored by one of the country’s foremost experts on enterprise-wide Lean transformation and the Toyota Production System (TPS). He has extensive experience in hands-on healthcare, manufacturing, supply chain, network optimization and enterprise information systems. Mohamed’s academic credentials include a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt from Kaplan University, a Masters in Technology Management & Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from Central Connecticut State University and a PhD in Business Administration from Northcentral University.  Mohamed is: Founder of Vizibility llc, a Lean consulting and training company An M Plus Group Managing Partner, an advisory-coaching firm devoted to knowledge sharing, event planning and helping clients achieve organizational transformation. One of his partners, Crystal Y. Davis, was my guest in Episode #363. Today, we talk about his background and education in Lean and we delve into what it was like to lead a Lean transformation at a large health system in Connecticut. Mohamed also shares a little bit about his Ph.D. research. I hope you enjoy the conversation! 

Jul 9

55 min

http://www.leanblog.org/374 Joining me today for Episode #374 of the podcast are two colleagues, Brittany Wilson and Mark Valenti. The topic, as Mark and I discussed in Episode #306, is "Motivational Interviewing." We will all be exploring this topic in the context of talking to people about wearing masks during the pandemic. But, there are many applications to workplace situations, as well. Mark and Brittany do a series of very engaging webinars, which you can find on their YouTube channel. I hope you enjoy the conversation! 

Jun 11

55 min

http://www.leanblog.org/373Joining me today for Episode #373 of the podcast is Professor Peter Hines, author of many books including Staying Lean: Thriving, Not Just Surviving. Peter founded S A Partners in 1994 as a spin-out from his activities in running the Lean Enterprise Research Centre at Cardiff University. Before this, he worked in supply chain and distribution and manufacturing industries. Peter has a degree from Cambridge University and an MBA and PhD from Cardiff University. He is also an accredited Senior Shingo Facilitator and is a Visiting Professor at Waterford Institute of Technology. He is also founder of the Enterprise Excellence Network, which invited me to do a webinar recently. In the episode, we talk about the challenges involved in creating and sustaining a culture of continuous improvement. Who should be the "Lean Champion" for an organization? Are there different success factors in the UK vs other countries? Is humility an innate trait or can it be developed? We talk about that and more. I hope you enjoy the conversation!

Jun 9

52 min

http://www.leanblog.org/372My guest for Episode #372 is Karen Gaudet, author of the excellent book Steady Work, which was published by the Lean Enterprise Institute. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a former employee of LEI and they provided a review copy of the book. In today's episode, we discuss her experience with Lean at Starbucks. It's a fascinating story that includes a transition from the old way (the Seattle HQ figuring out "best practices") to a new way (where store managers and baristas were taught how to design "playbooks" and to continuously improve the way the work is done in a particular store).

May 28

37 min

http://www.leanblog.org/371For Episode #371, we bring the discussion back to Lean Manufacturing applications, as our guest is Marc Lushington-Murray. He currently lives in the Fort Worth, Texas area but, as you'll discover from his accent, he was originally born and raised in England.Marc is currently searching for a new opportunity, but he brings a great deal of experience from his time working for Nissan and then Parker Hannifan. He was originally self-taught but then had the opportunity to learn from the famed Shigijitsu consulting group and others.He has worked in internal Lean roles, but has always been pulled into plant management or other direct line management roles. I hope you'll enjoy the conversation as Marc shares his reflections on his career to date and his hopes for what is still yet to come.

May 17

47 min

http://www.leanblog.org/370 Joining me for Episode #370 is Edward Blackman, the founder and managing partner of Kelda Consulting. He has previously had Lean and process improvement-focused roles at organizations as varied as Whirlpool, Amway, and Spectrum Health. Today, we are discussing behavioral science and the need to combine practices and lessons from that field with Lean and continuous improvement. Edward earned a Masters degree in Behavioral Science, along with undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Mathematics. He is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt by the American Society for Quality; is certified in Labor Standards by HB Maynard; is a Lean (Toyota Production System) Instructor/Coach; a Kata Coach; a certified Scrum Master; and an Agile Coach. Read his full bio. 

May 12

57 min

http://www.leanblog.org/369 Joining me again for Episode #369 of the podcast is Dr. Rachel Mandel, a self-described "healthcare whisperer" and Washington D.C.-based consultant for healthcare organizations. She has her own practice and also works as a Senior Healthcare Advisor for Operational Performance Solutions, Inc. She was a guest recently for Episode #367, but we had recorded that before the pandemic. So, we decided to do another episode, this time as a live YouTube stream, to talk about issues of the moment, and the future, related to Lean and Covid-19 -- leadership, respect, and safety among other themes. Again, she is a physician (OB-GYN) and previously served as the Vice President of Medical Affairs for a health system in Maryland. Read her full bio here. 

May 8

59 min

http://leanblog.org/368 My guest for Episode #368 is somebody I've met fairly recently through his excellent posts on LinkedIn, Steve Feltovich. He is the president of SJF Consulting, Inc. and he previously had a long career in the automotive industry, in particular collision and repair. Steve learned about Dr. Deming's approach and also learned the Toyota Production System from Toyota and Toyota University, so he has an interesting perspective that I really appreciate. I hope you enjoy the discussion! 

May 4

69 min

http://www.leanblog.org/367 Joining me for Episode #367 of the podcast is Dr. Rachel Mandel, a self-described "healthcare whisperer" and Washington D.C.-based consultant for healthcare organizations. She has her own practice and also works as a Senior Healthcare Advisor for Operational Performance Solutions, Inc. She is, of course, a physician (OB-GYN) and previously served as the Vice President of Medical Affairs for a health system in Maryland. Read her full bio here. We recorded this podcast in late February 2020, so much has changed since then. We'll be doing a follow up podcast next week where we'll discuss some of the leadership (and organizational) challenges that health systems face now during the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, we'll talk about her experiences with Lean and how she is an advocate for this methodology, especially around the important issues of safety and quality. 

Apr 27

61 min

http://www.leanblog.org/366 My guest for Episode #366 is Harry Moser, founder of the Reshoring Initiative. We talk about “reshoring,” in general, and why that's such an important issue in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.Harry definitely falls into the category of guests where I wonder, “Why haven't I had this person on the show before?” Harry and his work have been on my radar for a long time. I appreciate the mission and I wish more companies would consider the “Total Cost” (and old Dr. Deming concept) when making manufacturing site location and sourcing decisions instead of focusing only on “unit cost” or “landed cost” (which includes freight and taxes).“The mission of the Reshoring Initiative® is to bring good, well-paying manufacturing jobs back to the United States by assisting companies to more accurately assess their total cost of offshoring, and shift collective thinking from offshoring is cheaper to local reduces the total cost of ownership. “Harry was inducted into the Industry Week Manufacturing Hall of Fame in 2010, based on his long career in manufacturing. He founded the Reshoring Initiative in 2010. Be sure to check out the TCO Estimator tool that he discusses in the episode.“Most companies make sourcing decisions based solely on price, oftentimes resulting in a 20 to 30 percent miscalculation of actual offshoring costs.”The Reshoring Initiative WebsiteHarry's LinkedIn Profile@HarryMoser on Twitter@ReshoreNow on TwitterThe Total Cost of Ownership EstimatorListeners have probably heard of “offshoring” but what is “reshoring”?Why “reshoring”?What is “nearshoring” and is that nearly as good?Tell us about the history of your organization, the Reshoring Initiative…Why should our current Covid-19 crisis be a “wake up call” about where goods are manufactured?Do you think it's fair when analysts or the media blame “just in time” for shortages of goods and equipment during this crisis (in healthcare or retail)? Why or why not?Can Lean take out enough waste to make a high-labor manufacturing site competitive with U.S. wages?Dan Markovitz question (paraphrasing): Is moving production back to the US easier said than done if we don't have the skills or the supply base here anymore?How can we help companies (and investors) realize that “lowest total cost” is the goal, not “lowest labor cost” or “lowest piece price cost”?Why have companies miscalculated when doing the math about moving production to China?How can companies use TCO to increase sales?Can you give some past examples of reshoring and the benefits?What can/should the government do to accelerate the reshoring trend?

Apr 19

58 min

Mark Graban interviews Dan Markovitz about his new book. http://www.leanblog.org/365 Joining me again for Episode #365 is Dan Markovitz, now a five-time guest (but he doesn't get a special jacket like SNL).The reason for getting together was to chat about his latest book, "The Conclusion Trap: Four Steps to Better Decisions," now available from Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats.Why do people jump to conclusions (or solutions), often looking to “shiny new technology, reorganizations, or spending more money” as Dan asks? Why is it better to spend more time on a good problem statement? What's the difference between data and facts? When should we ask questions and when is it OK to make suggestions? When is it OK to “just do it” and when do we need to be more rigorous in setting up our experiments?Dan and I are good friends, so the conversation veers into a breakdown of the show “Bar Rescue” and the problem-solving and leadership methods illustrated there. This is almost an episode of “Lean Whiskey” but there was no whiskey involved.I hope you enjoy the conversation!

Apr 16

56 min

 Joining me for Episode #364 is a returning guest, Mitch Cahn, the president of Unionwear, a Newark-based company. Back in Episode #234, we talked about how Lean manufacturing has helped them be competitive in the labor-intensive apparel industry, sewing goods in a union shop. Today (in an episode that is also a video podcast), Mitch tells us how, a month ago, orders for political campaign hats and items evaporated as the Democratic presidential field consolidated. So, Unionwear needed to pivot and they started calling hospitals to find out how they might be able to help by making personal protective equipment (PPE) to help in the Covid-19 crisis. In the episode, you'll hear about the creation (and continued refinement) of face shields and gowns. These items were made using materials that they normally used for hats, backpacks, and plastic binders. Mitch also talks about how they've had to adapt their factory for social distancing and how some employees are sewing at home (and what they need to do to support the flow of materials and products). We'll also discuss how Lean methods have helped them in this new journey. 

Apr 14

34 min

http://www.leanblog.org/363For Episode #363, I'm joined by Crystal Davis as we discuss:What are you seeing in terms of how Covid-19 is disrupting businesses?How do we move from crisis mode, to survival mode, to recovery mode?Why do we need courageous leadership during these challenging times?This is also the first video podcast that I've done in a while. See the show notes page for the video: HTTP://www.leanblog.org/363We share a background as industrial engineers who started our Lean careers at General Motors, and we both moved on to do work with other types of businesses.Crystal has many roles today: The Lean Coach, Inc. - Founder, CEO, Principal Lean Practitioner; DisruptHER Coach; Managing Partner at MPlus Her website is http://theleancoachinc.com/. I hope you enjoy the conversation! 

Apr 7

59 min

http://www.leanblog.org/362 My guest for Episode #362 is Adam Lawrence, managing partner with Process Improvement Partners LLC. He's an industrial engineer who had a long career working with TQM, Six Sigma, and Lean at Thomasvile Furniture and other Armstrong World Industries companies. Today, we'll talk about setting kaizen events up for success with effective charter documents and team selection. What's the role of leadership? Adam will also talk about the "wheel of sustainability" (scroll down for an image and a PDF that he provided). Adam will also mention a free virtual workshop that he's doing on Monday, April 6th. It was supposed to be done in person at a conference... but given the current circumstances, he's trying to make lemons into lemonade and I appreciate that he's offering up that opportunity for folks. 

Mar 31

44 min

http://www.leanblog.org/361 Episode #361 of the podcast is admittedly not about Lean, but it's an important topic that I think needs to be shared in these times. I'm sharing audio that came from a KaiNexus webinar yesterday that we called "Ask Docs Anything" and the topic was, of course, coronavirus and Covid-19. We put out a call for questions and got more than 100 questions for our customers and our community. For the webinar, we focused the questions mainly on personal health and things you can (or must) do to protect your families and others in society. If you'd rather read synopsis answers to the questions, you can do so here. The video of the session is also embedded in that page, or it's also available through YouTube. You can also find more links to resources, articles, and information through this page. 

Mar 19

96 min

 http://www.leanblog.org/360Returning for Episode #360 of the podcast is Leah Binder, the president and CEO of Leapfrog Group. We last talked four years ago in Episode #240 about the patient safety crisis and efforts to improve. Today, we'll talk about hospitals' preparation for the Covid-19 / Coronavirus threat. Read her statement on this topic and stay tuned for announcements about free webinars and resources that Leapfrog Group will be providing.We'll also discuss safety (and the lack of reporting and data) in the outpatient (ambulatory) surgery setting -- where 60% of procedures are done today in the U.S. We'll also talk about the progress that's been made in the last four years on the patient safety front, in general. Please check out Leapfrog Group and their Hospital Safety Score website. How does your hospital measure up? How do the hospitals in your community compare? What can hospitals be doing to close their gaps so they get an "A"? How can large businesses who pay for healthcare and have their employees' interest in mind, like manufacturers, help put positive pressure on healthcare to improve? 

Mar 15

56 min

 My guest for Episode #359 of the podcast is Prof. Dr. Alfred Angerer, joining me from Switzerland to talk about Lean healthcare. I had a chance to visit a hospital with Alfred, in Switzerland, late last year, as we discussed in this episode of his podcast (which we recorded together in his office). In today's episode, he joins me via the internet and we'll talk about his path into studying, teaching, and consulting on Lean healthcare. We'll chat about what's different (and what's similar) in Swiss healthcare and we'll touch on his books and articles in the conversation. 

Mar 2

65 min

 http://www.leanblog.org/358 Returning to the podcast for Episode #358 is Steve Spear, a senior lecturer at MIT and author of the book The High-Velocity Edge: How Market Leaders Leverage Operational Excellence to Beat the Competition. He's also the founder and co-creator of a software company and product called See to Solve. He's also the author of two outstanding Harvard Business Review articles: “Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System" and "Fixing Healthcare from the Inside, Today," both of which we'll discuss today. One of the themes for this episode is the evolution of knowledge. What does that mean for a company and what does that mean for an esteemed researcher and professor like Steve? Steve has a BS in economics from Princeton University, an MA in management and an MS in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD from Harvard Business School. He was previously a guest in episodes #58, 87, and 262. I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did! 

Feb 10

67 min

http://leanblog.org/357Joining me today for episode #357 is Michael Conroy, M.D., the Chief Medical Officer of Sutter Medical Group in northern California.Mike was previously the Medical Director of the Lean Promotion Office for the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and he was in that role when we first met about a decade ago. We collaborated on some Lean workshop training material for him to deliver to other physicians, through my role at Catalysis at the time.In today's episode, we'll talk about how he was first exposed to Lean, we'll take a few metaphorical elevator rides to talk about how Lean benefits patients and physicians, and shifting from Lean as tools or events to being a way of thinking and a common operating system for an organization.Mike is board certified in Internal Medicine and is a Fellow in the American College of Physicians. After medical school at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, he did his residency at Virginia Mason Medical Center where he worked with Dr. Gary Kaplan, a well-known Lean leader who is now CEO of that system. Small world!

Feb 3

68 min

http://www.leanblog.org/356 My guest for episode #356 of the podcast is Amy C. Edmondson, PhD, the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School. She is the author of three books on teaming and her most recent book is the topic of conversation today: The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth. In the episode, we explore the incredibly important concept of "psychological safety," which means, as Edmondson defines it: "...a climate in which people are comfortable expressing and being themselves." This is necessary for Kaizen (continuous improvement) and it's also a huge contributor to people being able to speak up about patient safety risks (or other problems in the workplace). One thing I love about her book is that she doesn't just diagnose the problem (that fear of speaking up is bad), but she also lays out a plan for how leaders can create a more psychologically-safe environment and culture. From her bio: "Edmondson received her PhD in organizational behavior, AM in psychology, and AB in engineering and design from Harvard University." 

Jan 22

54 min

Http://www.leanblog.org/355 So, an engineer, an architect, and a nurse walk into a hospital... no, that's not a setup for the punchline to a joke. Today, in episode #355 of the podcast, I'm sharing three short conversations with three people who have very different backgrounds, but they still all ended up working to improve healthcare. We have a Toyota-trained engineer (Isaac Mitchell), who transitioned (like me) from manufacturing to healthcare. We are also joined by an architect (Laura Silvoy) who got a master's degree in health systems engineering and helps an architecture firm in the improvement and design of healthcare facilities. And, we have a business student (Darrin Judkins) who then got a nursing degree and, after years of providing patient care at the bedside, also got into Lean and healthcare improvement. We all know each other through our involvement in the Society for Health Systems (a part of the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers) and the annual Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference. The event is being held February 26 to 28 this year in Savannah, Georgia. I love this event -- the learning, the networking, the friends... and I highly recommend it. We'll chat about that a bit too. This episode is a little different... but I think you'll like it. 

Jan 15

59 min

http://www.leanblog.org/354 Joining me for episode #354 of the podcast is Kim Hollon, the CEO and President of Signature Healthcare, based in Brockton, Massachusetts. I first met Kim about a decade ago and, as we discover during the podcast discussion, one of my Lean healthcare clients in Dallas was later an important influence in Kim's discovery and embrace of Lean. What prompted the podcast interview was Kim's recent article titled "The Health Care Leader's Role in Safety," which I blogged about not long ago. So, in this episode, we talk about the article, his personal history with Lean, and much more. Please rate, review, and subscribe to the podcast!

Jan 8

61 min

Links and full transcript: http://www.leanblog.org/353My guest for Episode #353 of the podcast is somebody whose work I've appreciated for a long time -- Quint Studer. I was first introduced to his book Hardwiring Excellence back in 2005 and I've been following his work (and reading his books) ever since.Today, we'll talk about "hardwiring" and other concepts from his first book. We will also explore his latest book, The Busy Leader's Handbook: How To Lead People and Places That Thrive, a book intended for leaders in all industries. 

Dec 2019

63 min

http://www.leanblog.org/352 Joining me for Episode #352 of the podcast is Frederick Southwick, M.D. He is a Professor of Medicine and is also Director of Patient Care Quality and Safety in the Division of Hospitalist Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Fred is the author of many books including Critically Ill: A 5-Point Plan to Cure Healthcare Delivery. In the podcast, Fred will talk about why he shifted from infectious diseases to focusing on hospital medicine and healthcare improvement. This was driven partially by two very personal episodes with problems in the healthcare system that his then-wife and he both suffered from. Fred was appointed as a Harvard University Advanced Leadership fellow, where he studied business and public health. Fred was exposed to Lean through MIT Prof. Steven Spear and they have published an article together, where they call for "all academic physicians caring for patients to focus on systems and quality improvement." In the episode, Fred reflects on how he personally shifted from blaming doctors to looking at systems as the primary driver of quality and safety problems. He also teaches Lean to medical students and has two public classes on "Fixing Healthcare" (including one with a deeper focus on Lean) through Coursera. I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did. 

Nov 2019

56 min

http://www.leanblog.org/351 Joining me for Episode #351 of the podcast are my friends Joel Tosi and Dion Stewart, co-founders of the company Dojo & Co.They're the authors of the new book (to be released on November 19) called Creating Your Dojo: Upskill Your Organization for Digital Evolution. A "dojo" is a learning environment -- whether that's for the martial arts or if it's a "safety dojo" in a Toyota factory. Today, we talk about what it means to create an "immersive learning environment" in a workplace, such as a software company or a product development group within a larger company -- the goal is more effective learning, progress, and adoption of new methods or products. It's interesting to think about how one might use a "dojo" in the context of Lean design or improvement efforts in a hopsital or other settings. Joel, Dion, and I have collaborated before on a few events, including our Learning Symposium where we visited Toyota and Garrison Brothers Distillery last year. 

Nov 2019

55 min

http://www.leanblog.org/350 Our guest today is Tim Turner, who joined us previously in 2010 for episode #90. Tim was the lead author for a book called One Team on All Levels that was about the Toyota plant and its people in Kentucky. Tim was involved in the ramp up of Kentucky Lexus production and then left Toyota after 22 years. He was at another manufacturing company and now works as a consultant, so it's interesting to hear about all of those different experiences. 

Nov 2019

72 min

 http://www.leanblog.org/349My guest for episode #349 is John Dyer, president of his consulting firm, John Dyer & Associates, Inc., and author of the new book, The Façade of Excellence: Defining a New Normal of Leadership, which will be released on October 1, 2019. John has been a guest previously in episodes #229 and #280, talking about Dr. W. Edwards Deming, "The Red Bead Experiment," and more. Today, we talk about the book, how to find out of there is a "facade" of excellence, and why "fear makes good people do stupid things," as John says. What's a façade? "A false appearance that makes someone or something seem more pleasant or better than they really are." 

Sep 2019

61 min

http://www.leanblog.org/348 Our guest today for Episode 348 is Cinnamon Dixon, Director Of Continuous Improvement at Cleveland Clinic. I interviewed her for the KaiNexus Continuous Improvement Podcast series and I'm cross posting that interview here to give it more exposure. Our KaiNexus team members who were at the Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit in June were really impressed with Cinnamon's presentation on their "tiered huddle" process that's part of their Lean methodology. So, we asked her to do the podcast. You can a full transcript via the KaiNexus blog. I recently had a chance to visit Cleveland Clinic and I spent the morning observing their tiered huddles, so I'll be writing a blog post about that soon. Thanks to Cinnamon and Cleveland Clinic for being so willing to share! 

Sep 2019

45 min

http://www.leanblog.org/347 Our guest today for Episode 347 is Brad Parsons, the CEO of NEA Baptist, in Jonesboro, Arkansas. NEA Baptist is a 228-bed hospital and 140-provider medical group serving northeast Arkansas -- part of Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation. Brad is also the co-author of the new book Creating an Effective Management System: Integrating Policy Deployment, TWI, and Kata. His co-authors have been guests on the podcast before -- Patrick Graupp and Skip Steward. In this episode, we'll talk about core themes from the book, including his role as the leader of their transformational efforts to implement and continue improving an effective management system -- something that's important for so many reasons. We'll also talk about "Process Behavior Charts" and his experience with Don Wheeler. 

Sep 2019

63 min

 http://www.leanblog.org/346  Joining me for Episode 346 of the podcast is Mark Ryan, a Transformation Coach and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at Franciscan Health. Mark will be one of the hosts and facilitators at our upcoming "Kaizen Live!" site visit event at Franciscan St. Francis Health in Indianapolis. Only two spots remain, so register today if you'd like to join us. As we talk about in the episode, Franciscan does much more than daily Kaizen. They've built upon that foundation of staff engagement to add other Lean practices -- under the banner of what they call "Managing for Daily Improvement," or MDI. They use "strategy deployment" and other methods to align the organization in their goals and improvement efforts. I hope you enjoy the discussion, whether you are joining us in Indianapolis or not. 

Aug 2019

53 min

 http://www.leanblog.org/345  <-- read a transcript hereMy guest for Episode #345 is Edward Niedermeyer, author of the book Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors. It's available now for pre-order at Amazon (with an August 20 release date).Ed is currently the Senior Editor of Mobility Technology at The Drive. He was previously the editor-in-chief for the site The Truth About Cars. He's also one of the hosts of the Autonocast podcast about autonomous vehicle technology.In the episode, Ed and I talk about his thoughts on Toyota as somebody who has covered the automotive industry for over a decade. While his book has a lot of interesting details and stories about Tesla and Elon Musk (for example, I learned that Elon was not a founder), we focus mainly on the failed relationship between Tesla and Toyota.We also touch on the dynamics that lead to somebody who criticizes a company being labeled a "hater." It's interesting, perhaps, because Ed and I both want Tesla to succeed. Constructive criticism shouldn't be interpreted as wanting an organization to fail -- and that sometimes happens to people inside of different organizations, as well.This is a long discussion, at about 75 minutes, but I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 

Aug 2019

84 min

http://www.leanblog.org/344Joining me for Episode #344 is David Reid, a mechanical engineer whose career has taken him from improvement work at Michelin Tire, to being a pastor, to now helping the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain improve through Lean and Kaizen practices and mindsets.I was really excited to see the cover story that was in the May 2019 issue of ISE Magazine (Industrial & Systems Engineering). The headline inside reads, “From lean modules to a lean mindset — Chick-fil-A's success shows how leveraging your greatest asset speeds up cultural change.”In this episode, I get to ask David about some of the drivers for Lean at Chick-fil-A, which is already a high-growth company with many happy customers and employees.How do they influence the owner/operators of stores to embrace Lean and to engage every employee in continuous improvement? Why did they learn that a top-down engineering-driven model couldn't possibly drive enough improvement? How does a Facebook page enter the equation for employees (and note that using Facebook was an employee idea) instead of “building an app.”There are many great “nuggets” of wisdom here from David, pun absolutely intended. I hope you enjoy the episode!

Jul 2019

61 min

My guest for Episode #343 of the podcast is Amanda Mewborn, an executive director of project management for Piedmont Health.I've known Amanda through the Society for Health Systems and she's one of the very small number of people I know with both engineering and nursing degrees. She has a B.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering and an M.S. in Health Systems from Georgia Tech and a B.S. in nursing from Georgia State University.So, in today's episode, we talk about that interesting combination of skill sets and why she got a nursing degree. We also chat about her career in healthcare, along with some of the facility design and construction work she has been involved with. We also hear her thoughts on why it's important to have the engagement and involvement of front-line staff (and patients) in the design process.

Jun 2019

60 min

For links and more, go to http://www.leanblog.org/342My guest for Episode #342 of the podcast is Adam Ward, the author of Lean Design in Healthcare: A Journey to Improve Quality and Process of Care.Adam is an innovation process expert and independent advisor. He spent the first 12 years of his career designing cars for Honda and the next 12 years working with Fortune 500 companies to turn around their product development process. A resident Buckeye, he coaches students at Ohio State's MBOE program.In this episode, we discuss his early days at Honda and how he made a career transition into healthcare. We'll talk about the story behind his book and some of his experiences and practices that are transferrable — going from “simultaneous engineering” to “Lean design.” What are some of the most common failures? How can we coach leaders so they aren't giving just lip service to these methodologies? We discuss all of that and more…

May 2019

49 min

http://www.leanblog.org/341My guest for Episode #341 of the podcast is Dr. Rob Hackett, an anaesthesiologist in Sydney, Australia. Rob has become known around the world for his role in what's now called the “Theatre Cap Challenge” — a method for improving communication and, thereby, improving patient safety and outcomes.As we talk about today, Rob had the idea of writing his name and role on his surgical cap with a sharpie. Eventually, he (and others) have gotten printed caps made as shown below in my LinkedIn post about our discussion (it has received 200,000 views and counting).As I wrote on LinkedIn, Rob has, unfortunately, been trolled, threatened, and bullied for this seemingly benign and obvious improvement idea — both in the workplace and online. It seems that outsiders to healthcare and those who are new to medicine find an idea like this to be obviously helpful, but those who have been in healthcare the longest struggle to accept it.I appreciate Rob's perspective that those who oppose this innovation, for whatever reason, probably aren't bad people — they just have a different view and, possibly, some old habits or cognitive biases that they are stuck in.The interview goes for over an hour. One thing I'd like to do is produce a shorter audio piece that's more like an NPR news story. See below for a full transcript and for links, videos, and more. His website is www.psnetwork.org.

May 2019

67 min

Here is a special sample preview of a new podcast... the “Lean Whiskey” PodcastIf you like it, please subscribe by searching your podcast directory for "Lean Whiskey" or go to www.LeanWhiskey.com.About the PodcastMark Graban and Jamie Flinchbaugh are two guys with a lot in common: Lean, writing books, speaking, consulting... and a love of good whiskey. Like the Car Talk guys, they both went to MIT... but Lean isn't rocket science. Let's hope they can hold their liquor, because they're not holding back on sharing their opinions... it's time for Lean Whiskey... Lean talk with a fun spirit!

May 2019

48 min

Cookie policy

We and our partners use cookies to personalize your experience, to show you ads based on your interests, and for measurement and analytics purposes. By using our website and our services, you agree to our use of cookies as described in our Cookie Policy.