Blog Library

The Checklist Manifesto

The Checklist Manifesto

Summary
  This post summarizes a wonderful book that is celebrating its ten-year anniversary. Atul Gawande wrote the best-seller The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right in 2009. It was the third book by the author and has become influential in healthcare and beyond. Gawande is a general surgeon at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. In June of 2018 he was named CEO of the recently formed healthcare venture Haven, owned by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Chase.   I’ll let Gawande summarize the core idea from his book: “Avoidable failures are common and persistent, not to mention demoralizing and frustrating, across many fields –…
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Allowing For Trial & Error

Allowing For Trial & Error

Lesson
  We are pleased to offer our monthly lesson as a video post! You can read the lesson below, which is a formatted transcript of the presentation, or watch the 5-minute video embedded at the end.   Allowing For Trial & Error: A Better Way To Grow & Compete Have you ever worked in a place where the goal is to be unnoticed and the boss visits your area only if you are about to hear bad news? I have seen too many organizations where employees just go through the motions, doing what they are told. Raises and advancements at these workplaces are based primarily on not making mistakes. Employees are told what to do and managers make the decisions. There is no incentive to take on a challenge, learn new…
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Lean Innovation for Growth

Lean Innovation for Growth

Lesson
Our two previous posts introduced the Need for Lean Innovation and Lean Startup Thinking. In our conversations about Startup Thinking and Innovation, we want to clearly encourage that these innovation tools and strategies work for established companies equally as well as they do for start-ups. In fact, most of the companies Lean East supports are mature companies, not early-stage companies with a nascent product idea to test. In this post we will like to show that there are four primary types of innovation for existing companies, as presented by the Harvard Business Review article "You need an Innovation Strategy," Gary P. Pisano in 2015. The four types are described by whether they feature a business model innovation or technical competency innovation. Then we share three suggestions for existing companies who…
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Lean Startup Thinking

Lean Startup Thinking

Summary
This blog post is a continuation of last month's 'The Need for Lean Innovation' where we introduce the concept of Lean innovation and make the case for why businesses and organizations need to prioritize learning through experimentation.  One recent book that captures many principles of Lean Innovation is The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. Ries applies several concepts of Lean thinking to the realm of startups, where there is huge uncertainty about the success of the innovation and business model. A few of the key ideas are: Working smarter, not harder: the key question is not “can this product be built?” but rather “should this product be built?” and “will this result in a sustainable business?” Developing a Minimal Viable Product (MVP): the MVP should be easy to build and…
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The Need for Lean Innovation

The Need for Lean Innovation

Lesson
As recently as 15-years ago, most markets had few competitors and significant barriers to entry. Management would decide what product to build, budget the work and assign engineers and developers to the project team. New product development projects would often last for many years. Similarly, companies providing services would keep an eye on market competition and take the long-approach for releasing new offerings, often protected from competition by regional control and deep reputation. Today, the internet, open-sourced solutions, and social media have leveled the playing field. Consumers have one-click buying options for new products at their fingertips. New internet-based services disrupt long-standing businesses such as taxi transportation, insurance, legal services and healthcare. Customers will switch quickly and often to better solutions. Every day our world continues to become more complex.…
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Are you a “Super Nurse” on your Team?

Are you a “Super Nurse” on your Team?

Lesson
  Does your organization have a person on staff who everyone can go to in order to get a problem solved? For example, someone who knows how to obtain guest Wi-Fi access for a visiting contractor? Who is the same person who can always find that hidden file on the network, and knows how to correct the mistake in your EMR or MRP system? Perhaps your organization is a customer-facing business and this person also goes above and beyond to follow up with a customer who has a special request and double-checks every item before your product goes out the door. Picture a person on your team who matches this description. Or, are you that person on your team? People who save the day and rescue a team from disaster…
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Ideas for Action from The Culture Code

Ideas for Action from The Culture Code

Summary
Daniel Coyle wrote the bestselling book The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups in 2018 as a follow-up to his bestselling book The Talent Code. Both books are well researched and highly recommended reads by Lean East. This post summarizes several of the “ideas for action” from the book into a basic leadership action plan. Culture is not something you are, it is something you do. Coyle focuses on three keys to building a cohesive, motivated culture – build safety, share vulnerability and establish purpose. The book shares his research on each of these areas and each section has ideas any leader can implement to improve their organization’s culture. Below are 20 ideas you can begin implementing today. Please share with others and leave a comment below if…
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Lean and Agile – Ideas that Work Together

Lean and Agile – Ideas that Work Together

Lesson
Five similarities between Lean and Agile Readers of our blog will be familiar with Lean fundamentals. Many of you have completed improvement projects or attended workshops such as our ‘Introduction to Lean Thinking’ course. Readers of our blog are past or current clients, or people we have connected with in LinkedIn Groups (we recommend Lean Six Sigma and Operational Excellence as great sources of information and energy). Likewise, many of our readers will know that the goal of Lean is to maximize customer value by minimizing non-value added “waste” in processes. Lean changes the focus of management from optimizing separate technologies, assets and vertical departments to optimizing the flow of products and services across technologies and departments. But what about Agile? Some members of our community have started to hear whispering of ‘Agile’ in the hallway -…
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8 Lean Wastes: Transportation vs Motion

8 Lean Wastes: Transportation vs Motion

Lesson
  We enjoy teaching the 8 Wastes of Lean Thinking to our clients and the participants in our training workshops. As instructors, we share examples of 'Wastes' from our professional experience in both manufacturing and service-related organizations. Together, we brainstorm ways in which the wastes reveal themselves in our attendees' organizations. One question that gives us pause in every Introduction to Lean Thinking workshop is the request to explain the nuance of two 'movement' wastes - motion and transportation.     Motion The motion waste focuses on the movement of people or equipment that is unnecessary. It is any movement beyond the minimum required for completing the process step.  The motion waste is typically found within a workspace or process step rather than between steps. Walking to a community printer or searching for information or a tool are…
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7 Lessons from Good to Great

7 Lessons from Good to Great

Lesson
  Influential management professor Jim Collins released the popular Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don’t in 2001. The book is really a research project led by Collins as a follow-up to his book Built to Last. He researched hundreds of companies to identify sets of “good” companies where one became “great” while a close competitor failed. Collins and his team tried to discover what the “great” companies did differently from the comparison companies and the general market. The book is a bestseller that has become a management strategy classic on how to grow a successful company and our team has given the book as a gift to numerous organizational leaders. Key points can be summarized by the image below – this post will summarize the key…
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