I spoke with John recently and asked him: “Why must there be a ‘new normal’ for leadership?” Here is his full response:
It has been nearly four decades since the NBC documentary “If Japan Can… Why Can’t We?” was first aired. This program was a massive wake-up call and prompted the creation of initiatives such as Total Quality Management, Lean, and Six Sigma. While some progress has been made, most organizations, especially outside of manufacturing, are still using old, outdated management practices such as fear, management by objectives, and hierarchical organizational structures.
What do you think of John's perspective? Do the management problems John details here exist in your organization?
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is the oldest children's hospitals in the United States. I don't think I've ever been there, but I remember them having Lean improvement efforts going back to the mid 2000s when I first moved from manufacturing to healthcare. Children's hospitals, in general, are even more amazing places (compared to a […]
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But if you want to achieve this level of professional productivity, you need to become a genuine leader who inspires people and encourages them to give their best for the benefit of the entire...
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I was asked to write this article for recruiter.com, which I am reprinting here with their permission. Younger Workers Crave Instant Gratification. Here's How to Give It to Them Without Causing Distraction. OK, I'm squarely “Gen X” but I was asked to run with the idea that Gen Z “craves instant gratification.” As with […]
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Today, I'd like to celebrate my friends at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Iowa for being one of six healthcare organizations to receive the 2019 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Read more in this news story or this press release. MGMC is the first Iowa organization to receive this award. Among the factors that led […]
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As the parent of two children, I often found myself trying to protect my kids from failure. As I reflect back on that now, I’m not sure I always made the right decisions in doing so. How could I expect my kids to learn if they never experienced failure. Even more difficult, how do I get them to be more comfortable with failure. Anyway, more on the dilemmas of parenting in another blog.
The same principle holds true in Lean as we apply the Scientific Method to problem solving. In the scientific method we set out a hypothesis and then run experiments to test our thinking. The test needs to be binary – it either succeeds in which case we implement and standardize our countermeasure or it fails in which case we need to develop another countermeasure.
The key to the scientific method is that we learn something in both cases which is why it is critical for organizational learning. Not only do we learn when we succeed but we learn how not to do things when we fail. In fact, many times success only comes after repeated failure. Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors of all time, is a great example of someone who embodied this principle.
But what happens if we apply the scientific method, develop a hypothesis and run an experiment on things we already know and understand?
Result – we can follow the methodology but no organizational learning occurs.
To learn we need to run experiments and test things where we don’t know the outcome. This leads to the mantra:
“Experiment, Fail, Experiment again, Fail Again but this time Fail better”
Failing better means we’re learning. We’re learning what doesn’t work which means we’re closer to learning what will work. This learning allows us to develop more creative and innovative countermeasures to address the problem. Combine this with “Fail Fast” and we have the formula for rapid innovation within organizations. As a side note, “Failing Fast” doesn’t necessarily help an organization if they aren’t learning from their failures.
For leaders this means becoming comfortable with failures, encouraging teams to try new things and ensuring the salient learning points are captured from the experiments.
Doing so will help ensure organizational success and wise leaders know, it’s only a thin line that separates success from failure.
In case you missed our last few blogs... please feel free to have another look…
KAIZEN – Small Changes vs. Monster Projects
Is Inventory a waste or a cover-up of deeper waste?
7 Basic Quality Tools – Are they underrated?
What Does Leader as a Teacher Really Mean?
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to express your gratitude to those around you. Making your employees feel appreciated now only promotes mutual feelings of goodwill, but it can make them feel more loyal and dedicated to their...
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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 […]
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“Recently I had the chance to visit two Amazon Fulfillment Centers to take an in-depth look at their inner workings. While many articles about Amazon go over the basics, I will give you a deep dive into the workings of their fulfillment centers. Due to the amount of information, I divided the content across a […]
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