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.
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

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

The Power of the Leader as Storyteller

The Power of the Leader as Storyteller

Most of us don’t understand the power of our greatest natural talents.   Each of us has something that comes very easily to us, so it feels unremarkable, yet others are in awe of us because that talent is difficult for almost everyone else. Few people recognize this, and so our greatest talents often remain underutilized.… Continue Reading

A Father’s Day Message – Caring for Your People Like Family

A Father’s Day Message – Caring for Your People Like Family

“I found that parenting and leadership are identical. It is the stewardship of the lives entrusted to you, whether through birth or through employment.”   This quote from Bob Chapman during a recent interview for his book, Everybody Matters, expresses one of the key principles of his leadership philosophy – his approach to the Lean principle of… Continue Reading

Reducing Physician Burnout without Reducing the Bottom Line

Reducing Physician Burnout without Reducing the Bottom Line

How can you reduce physician burnout in your workplace without hurting the bottom line? When most people think about burnout they think about its primary manifestation – exhaustion.  Burnout also manifests as cynicism, which damaging to the person and those around him/her, and as inefficacy, the sense that what you do doesn’t make a difference.… Continue Reading