Effective Lean Leadership
Leading in a Lean organization is very different from traditional management.

Lean leadership is based on two key principles – Respect for People and Continuous Improvement. Lean leaders succeed by focusing on these principles and developing a management system and culture that embodies them.

A Lean management system empowers the people on the front lines to identify and solve problems, and aligns the entire organization around achieving shared aspirational goals.

Lean leaders work differently:
  • Rather than sitting in back to back meetings interrupted only by emails or crises, Lean leaders intentionally go to the “gemba” – the place where the real work is done – in order to understand what is working and what is not, and to build trusting relationships with the front line workers.
  • Rather than spend time analyzing spreadsheets and reports filled with data that is weeks to months old, Lean leaders encourage transparency with visual management in which real time performance data is posted on walls in a way that makes it easy for all to see when performance is on track or off track.
  • Rather than simply demanding action plans to fix the metrics that are off track, Lean leaders seek to understand the root causes when performance is off track and support the front line workers as they redesign the workflows to eliminate the problems.

Lean leadership is a journey that takes time and never reaches a final conclusion. Everyone is always improving.

If you are struggling with Lean leadership, or are interested in learning more, feel free to contact me. I am happy to help.
Go to Gemba to Show You Care

Go to Gemba to Show You Care

As a health care leader, you need to Go to Gemba!  Why? Because 82% of your physicians think that their leaders don’t care about their problems.  (It’s not just healthcare, in pretty much every industry 80-85% of front line workers think that those in the C-suite don’t care enough to offer help to the people… Continue Reading

Servant Leadership – Asking Questions, Not Giving Answers

Servant Leadership – Asking Questions, Not Giving Answers

Servant Leadership is alive and well among effective Lean leaders in Europe. This past week I had the good fortune to give a presentation on “Preventing Physician Burnout” at the 3rd Annual Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit Europe in Brussels.  It was a great meeting with 300+ attendees from 17 countries all committed to transforming health… Continue Reading

Denver Health: Engaging Physicians through Engaged Leadership

Denver Health: Engaging Physicians through Engaged Leadership

Last Sunday I discussed the sixth driver of burnout – Conflicting Values.  Today’s posting is a vignette from our book, Preventing Physician Burnout: Curing the Chaos and Returning Joy to the Practice of Medicine, and discusses Denver Health’s Lean journey.  As CEO of Denver Health, Dr. Patty Gabow engaged Simpler Consulting to coach her and her… Continue Reading

Front Line Connections

Front Line Connections

Last Sunday I focused on the fifth driver of burnout – Absence of Fairness. Leaders can increase the sense of fairness with front line connections to caregivers by being present in the clinical areas to understand the challenges first hand.  Of course, rapidly solving problems is key to making people feel that they are being… Continue Reading

Enabling Physician Leadership – Oregon Medical Group

Enabling Physician Leadership – Oregon Medical Group

As part of my ongoing series on the drivers of physician burnout, and examples of provider organizations that are taking action to reduce those drivers, today’s post is a vignette from our book, Preventing Physician Burnout: Curing the Chaos and Returning Joy to the Practice of Medicine, featuring a group that has focused on physician… Continue Reading

VANCOUVER CLINIC: ENGAGING PHYSICIANS IN STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT

VANCOUVER CLINIC: ENGAGING PHYSICIANS IN STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT

Each week for the next six weeks I will post a vignette from our book “Preventing Physician Burnout” that highlights actions leaders take to reduce the impact of physician burnout.  Here is the first, on engaging physicians in strategic planning as a way to connect vision and values… Engaging Physicians in Strategy Located in Washington… Continue Reading

4DX and Lean

4DX and Lean

As I coach executives in health care systems around the country, I’m hearing interest in 4DX and Lean. I’ve seen hospitals implement both, and spurred by the recent interest, I reread The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Sean Covey, Chris McChesney, and Jim Huling. It’s well written and compelling in the stories they share of… Continue Reading

The Cost of Not Preventing Burnout

The Cost of Not Preventing Burnout

Can health care leaders afford to take actions preventing burnout in physicians?  Perhaps the better question to ask is, can they afford not to? In a recent letter published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Shanafelt et.al. describe the potential impact of a reduction in physician work effort and in the physician workforce due to increasing physician… Continue Reading

Tight-Loose-Tight Leadership and A3 Thinking

Tight-Loose-Tight Leadership and A3 Thinking

Are you a “results-oriented” leader?  I hope you are, because you need good results to be successful.  How do the people you lead feel about your focus on results? Are they empowered or feeling burned out? The “Tight-Loose-Tight” approach to leadership can ensure results while empowering your team. The basic concept of “Tight-Loose-Tight” is for a leader to… Continue Reading

Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership

How do you approach Servant Leadership?  Do you aspire to serve those you lead?    I’ve struggled a bit with what the concept of servant leadership truly implies. A servant’s master can command the servant to perform tasks that primarily further the master’s self interest.  If, as servant leaders, we must obey the physicians and staff no… Continue Reading