Joining me today for Episode #384 of the podcast is Craig Gygi, co-author of the book Six Sigma for Dummies. He also managing principal and owner of the firm Strategic Productivity. You can read his full bio there. He also has an online course called “Truth About Data” which covers statistical process control for business metrics, as I have written about.

So, we have that shared interest in data, statistical methods, and problem solving even if he comes at it from a Six Sigma perspective (starting from his days at Motorola) and me from a Lean perspective.

Craig's previous leadership roles include:

  • COO, Purple
  • Executive VP of Operations, MasterControl
  • Director Operational Excellence, Fiji Water

I hope you enjoy the conversation like I did. You can listen to the audio or watch the video, below.

Joining me today for Episode #383 of the podcast is Patrick Anderson, the CEO of the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc. (or "RurAL CAP"). Patrick was previously a guest way back in Episodes #53 and #71.

Today, we'll talk how ideas from Dr. W. Edwards Deming and Lean have influenced him as he has led different organizations. He shares thoughts about shifting an organization away from a "command and control" approach, what "respect for people" means to him, and he'll also talk about their "performance management system."

I hope you enjoy the conversation. for show notes and more

I'm really excited to be speaking to my guest for Episode #382 of the podcast… he is the legendary Tom Peters — author, speaker, and consultant. His response to me calling him “legendary” at the start of the episode gives you a glimpse into the fun conversation we had on some very important topics.

Today, we'll be talking about his “Excellence Manifesto 2020” and a theme he has tweeted about a lot, leading amongst the “madness of Covid-19.”

He is the author of 18 books, including:

I've been a huge fan of Tom's since I first saw him give a speech around 1997 or so. The story about Motorola's “six sigma chocolate chip cookies” (read about it here) stuck with me and my recall of that story leads to Tom talking about the risk of any good program becoming codified and bureaucratic, as we discuss early in the podcast.

Highlights of Tom's background and early career include:

  • Civil Engineering, Cornell
  • US Navy
  • MBA and PhD at Stanford
  • White House / OMB (Nixon)
  • McKinsey

Virtually all Tom's written and speech material covering the last 15+ years is available — free to download — at and

Much of what Tom says will resonate with Lean practitioners — his focus on people, the need for leaders to really love leading people, and Management by Wandering Around (an approach that might be more like Lean “gemba visits” than you might think).

As with his writing, Tom often speaks in ALL CAPS (which I love). With that does come some mild cursing — like a PG-13 movie, but I still need to give it the Apple Podcasts “explicit” rating I do warn you if you are listening in an open workplace with others (and if you are, wear a mask!).

I hope you enjoy the conversation, whether you listen or watch on YouTube:

Joining me for the ninth time on the podcast, for Episode #381, is Dr. John Toussaint, chairman of Catalysis. John is author or co-author of three books -- well actually it's four books, as a new one is available for pre-order now with an expected September 1st release: Becoming the Change: Leadership Behavior Strategies for Continuous Improvement in Healthcare.

Today, we'll talk about the new book a bit (but we'll save most of that conversation for an upcoming episode with both John and his co-author Kim Barnas).

I ask John about healthcare organizations that have been doing really good work during the Covid-19 pandemic. One of those is UMass Memorial Health Care (check out my "Habitual Excellence" podcast with their CEO Dr. Eric Dickson). Another related podcast I've done on that topic is a conversation with Paul Pejsa, also with Catalysis.

We also talk about the need to adapt with conferences, as the annual Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit is now a one-day online virtual event this year. We'll also hear some of John's thoughts on the future of healthcare.

I also want to mention a free webinar that John and Kim will be presenting on Wednesday, as part of the KaiNexus webinar series. Click here to register.

I hope you enjoy the conversation, whether you listen or watch.


This is an excerpt from Episode #380 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast. Host Mark Graban interviews Dr. Randal Pinkett and Dr. Jeffrey Robinson and, in this clip, they reflect on Randal winning "The Apprentice" (the only person of color to do so) and how Donald Trump asked him if he would share the prize with the runner up, a white woman (Rebecca Jarvis). For a transcript and the entire episode, visit

Today's episode, #380, is very special to me for a number of reasons. For one, it's part of the #RootCauseRacism series that Deondra Wardelle has organized on my blog this week. Secondly, I'm joined by Dr. Randal Pinkett and Dr. Jeffrey Robinson to talk about important issues of race, diversity, and equity in organizations. Together, they are co-authors of the book Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness and the upcoming book (2021) Black Faces in High Places.

Randal Pinkett, Ph.D. is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and community servant. Randal is the co-founder, Chairman and CEO of his fifth venture, BCT Partners, a multimillion dollar management, technology and policy consulting firm in Newark, NJ, a partner in Blackwell-BCT, a joint venture with Blackwell Consulting Services, and spokesperson for the Minority Information Technology Consortium. He is a Rhodes Scholar and former college athlete who holds five academic degrees from Rutgers, Oxford and MIT (including the Leaders for Global Operations program). He was also famously the first and only black winner of “The Apprentice,” something we will talk about today.

Jeffrey A. Robinson, Ph.D. is an award winning business school professor, international speaker and entrepreneur. Since 2008, he has been a leading faculty member at Rutgers Business School where he is an assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship and the founding Assistant Director of The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development. The Center is a unique interdisciplinary venue for innovative thinking and research on entrepreneurial activity and economic development in urban environments. He has an MS in Civil Engineering Management from Georgia Tech University and a Ph.D. in Management from Columbia University.

In the episode, we talk about workplace issues related to diversity and inclusion. Should we aspire to a “color blind” world or do we need to recognize and celebrate color? What can we do to turn “white places” into more inclusive places for all? How can the “innovation economy” be made more inclusive, and why is that important?

You'll also hear Randal talk about recently re-watching his season of The Apprentice online with his daughter. You can watch a separate 8-minute clip (an excerpt from the full interview) if you are particularly interested in his reflections about winning and being asked to share his win with the runner up. What did Randal learn while working in the Trump Organization?

I hope you enjoy the conversation, whether you listen or watch (or read the transcript below).

To enter Katie's contest: 

This bonus episode follows up on #379 with Katie


My guest for Episode #379, joining me for the fifth time, is Katie Anderson, author of the newly-released book Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn: Lessons from Toyota Leader Isao Yoshino on a Lifetime of Continuous Learning.


In today's episode, we talk about how the book came to be and we, of course, talk about the process — the process of writing and publishing.


You might also be interested in the webinar that Katie presented about some themes in the book, along with the separate extended Q&A session that we did.

I hope you enjoy the conversation, whether you listen or watch.

This is a portion of a much longer interview (Lean Blog Interviews Episode #378): 


I'm joined by Christopher D. Chapman, Senior Lean Transformation Coach at Chapman Lean Enterprise and Dr. Valeria Sinclair-Chapman,  a social scientist, Associate Professor, and Director of the Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion at Purdue University.


I was first introduced to Chris through his article that was published on the Lean Enterprise Institute's “The Lean Post” section titled “Lean in Lean Thinkers to Root Out Racial Inequity.” He also has a follow up article called “Our Burning Platform and Using the 5 Whys to Think More Deeply about Corrective Action” with more to come.

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