Redesigning Clinical Workflows to Return Joy to Patient Care
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.

Lean Leadership: It’s Lonely at the Bottom

Lean leadership is not for wimps. When you step forward, away from the pack, encouraging others to follow, you take a risk. First of all, there is the change thing. Change is hard. People don’t like to change. People only risk change when the pain of the current state is greater than the perceived pain… Continue Reading

Lean Leadership: It’s Lonely at the Bottom

Are You Driving a Ferrari or a Porsche?

I recently was asked to work with a health system that is struggling with physician engagement in their Lean program. Nothing new about that. Doctors are so busy trying to take care of higher volumes of increasingly complex patients that they can’t afford the time to fix the dysfunctional workflows that stand in the way… Continue Reading

“Respect is Like Air…”

“Respect is Like Air…”

“Respect is like air… if you take it away, it’s all people can think about. The instant people perceive disrespect in a conversation, the interaction in no longer about the original purpose – it is now about defending dignity.” (Crucial Conversations, by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler). Dr. Monica Broome, MD, shared this quote today… Continue Reading

Taylorism vs. Toyota – Managers with Stopwatches vs. Respect for People

In their recent Perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled “Medical Taylorism”, Drs. Pamela Hartzband and Jerome Groopman make a fundamental attribution error. They equate Lean as practiced according to the principles of the Toyota Production System that empowers workers to solve problems, with the approach used by Frederick Taylor over 100… Continue Reading

Fighting Fires with Fire – Or with a Training Plan

I’ve started to notice a concerning trend in my Lean executive coaching work lately. Healthcare executives who are leading Lean transformations in their organizations are canceling or rescheduling our coaching sessions, often on short notice. On one hand I fully understand why. There are always urgent issues that come up unexpectedly: a “must see” conference… Continue Reading

The Courage to Lead Change

Have you ever been in an organization that went through significant change? If you haven’t you are one of a rare breed in healthcare these days. Don’t worry, you will likely find yourself in the midst of change in the near future as healthcare moves from volume to value. If you have been through a… Continue Reading