Monthly Archives: March 2010

Doing Silly Things

“We don’t do things because we want to!  We try to solve problems.  If not, you end up doing silly things and wondering why the heck you don’t get any results.  So, again, what problem are you trying to solve?”The Lean Manager (Balle/Balle) page 220

It is amazing to me how often people want to implement something or suggest how to change a process without ever connecting their thoughts to a problem or desired outcome.  As an internal consultant at a hospital, I frequently get presented with proposed changes where we have to back-track to discover the problem.  Here are some reasons I think this happens:

  • People are addicted to action – Firefighting mentality can make people think everything needs fixing right now despite understanding root causes.
  • No time to think deeply about what the problem is – Staff is overburdened and time is not dedicated for improvement.
  • Command and control environment – If leadership does not develop and support a problem solving culture, it doesn’t matter what the problem is because people are just following orders.
  • Clear desired outcomes not communicated – Understanding what the organization needs will help define problems because gaps become visible.  If nobody knows the desired results, people just guess at what they think it should be.

To make effective improvements, help your organization stop doing silly things.  Prioritize your work to make time available for people to solve problems.  Leadership should begin to communicate desired outcomes and develop a culture for problem solving.  Recognize the silly effects that come from firefighting to help guide your organization into a more effective way of thinking.

What are other causes of people doing silly things?  What other advice do you have for organizations to solve problems instead?

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Filed under Communication

A Different 5S – For Babies

Since I am in “how to be a new Dad” mode before our baby comes in the next couple of weeks, I have been learning a lot.  I was surprised when I saw there is a 5S for infants in “The Happiest Baby On The Block” by Harvey Karp, M.D.  This book has come highly recommended from other parents.  This may not be Lean 5S, it definitely caught my attention!

Chapter 8 – The 1st “S” – Swaddling? A feeling of pure “wrap”ture
Chapter 9 – The 2nd “S” – Side (or, Stomach)? Your baby’s “feel-good” position
Chapter 10 – The 3rd “S” – Shhhh…Your baby’s favorite soothing sound
Chapter 11 – The 4th “S” – Swinging…Moving in rhythm with your baby’s needs
Chapter 12 – The 5th “S” – Sucking…The “icing on the cake”

I guess this is better than putting tape around the child with a label!

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Filed under 5S, humor

Be Different

Youngme Moon is coming out with a book called DIFFERENT.  The attached 3 minute video (RSS readers may need to open post to view) gives a great visual overview of how businesses can be different.  The video was created by XPLANE, a company that I enjoy their visual communication.  The book looks like something the Lean community would enjoy.

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Filed under Business, Change Management, Communication, customers, Productivity, Project Management, Visual Language

Book Review: Lean Hospitals

Mark Graban’s “Lean Hospitals” is a must-read for any hospital going through a Lean transformation.  I recommend it for all staff and not just leadership.

I am an internal consultant in a Lean hospital.  One of the biggest challenges is helping clinical staff understand how stuff from the automotive industry and manufacturing is relevant to their work.  Mark’s book provides descriptions and case examples that tie the Lean philosophy and tools directly to hospital work.

A strength of the book is the realistic way to approach Lean in a hospital.  There are many nuances for standardized work that are valuable.  Wastes are identified as things people in hospitals experience.  Mark points out common issues faced by hospitals if you are looking for a place to start.  I can not emphasize enough how many valuable tidbits are throughout this book.

Leaders will get a lot from this book.  Lean requires management to change in order to support front-line improvements.  Mark provides many concrete things leaders can do to make their journey successful. 

The continued focus of  patient needs and employee engagement drives all aspects of the book.  This brings purpose behind everything else that is explained.  This book will help drive valuable change for hospitals.

  • Get the first chapter for free here
  • See a video with the author here.
  • Follow Mark Graban on his blog andor twitter.

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Filed under Book Review, Business, Change Management, Consulting, customers, Improve With Lean, Improvements, Lean Hospitals, Learn Leadership, Productivity, Quality, Respect For People, Standard Work

Waste Of Breath: Wording Pet Peeves

In honor of National Grammar Day today, I want to share some of my favorite wording pet peeves for a little fun.  I am reaching to bring this into the lean world but there are overprocessing waste due to saying more than needed.

  • “Free Gift”: I have never heard of someone paying for a gift.  They are usually always free, no need to add the word.
  • I need to “respond back”: There is no way to respond in advance.  A response is always back to the person, so no need to add back.
  • I was thinking “in my head”: Where else would you think?  I can’t think in someone else’s head.
  • “Tunafish”: Just say tuna.  You never say halibutfish or salmonfish. 

Please share your wording pet peeves!

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Filed under Communication, humor, Improve With Lean, Waste