Lean Blog Interviews

In this series, started in 2006, Mark Graban interviews leaders, practitioners, innovators, and legends in the "Lean community." Topics include Lean in manufacturing, healthcare, startups, and other settings. Special emphasis is given to leadership and management system concepts, including the Toyota Production System and related methods. But, we don't talk about "Lean Six Sigma" much around here, if that's of interest to you... if you agree that Lean is more than "just a bunch of tools in the improvement toolbox," then this is the place for you. Visit the blog at www.leanblog.org. For feedback, email mark@leanblog.org. All past episodes, with show notes and more, can be found at www.leancast.org.

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Balaji Reddie, Founder of the Deming Forum India

2 days ago

Show notes: https://www.leanblog.org/424 My guest for Episode #424 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Balaji Reddie, the founder of The Deming Forum India. An engineer by trade, Balaji was exposed to W. Edwards Deming's ideas through his father, then became highly interested in the Deming Philosophy after a chance introduction to the founder of the British Deming Association, Dr. Henry R. Neave, who became Balaji's mentor. As it says in his bio: “Balaji's contributions have been featured in textbooks and coursework on Quality and the Deming Philosophy. He holds a Degree in Electrical Engineering from COEP (the Government College of Engineering in Pune), and a Master of Science in Quality Management from BITS (Birla Institute of Technology & Science).” Topics and questions: Tell us more about your professional background In his factory, had a “quality section” but not department – what's the difference? 1991 was a key year for India – opened up outside investment and foreign products Xerox 5-day Leadership for Quality course Wanted to know where this all began, learned of Deming & Juran What was your first exposure to Dr. Deming and/or his work? His father went to Japan in 1964 “Juran had answers, Deming asked questions” Recommends Managerial Breakthrough from 1964 14 points were for an American audience, the Japanese didn't have them Red Bead Experiment – Deming used in 1940s to teach sampling “Respect for people” – Deming was talking about this a long time back Tutored under Henry Neave – tell us about him — The Deming Dimension book “The guru is the person who shows us the way… asks questions but maybe doesn't give the answers”  The Deming Forum of India – 1999 founding Unique properties or qualities of Indian companies? I hope you enjoy the conversation. We managed to have a lot of laughs, even though we're talking about serious topics. The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more. This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network. 

Laura Kriska, the First American Woman to Work at Honda HQ in Japan

Tuesday Sep 14, 2021

My guest for Episode #423 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Laura Kriska, a Cross-Cultural Consultant and the author of the book The Business of We: The Proven Three-Step Process for Closing the Gap Between Us and Them in Your Workplace. Notes: https://www.leanblog.org/423 She was previously my guest on Episode 61 of the “My Favorite Mistake” podcast. Laura was previously the author of the book The Accidental Office Lady: An American Woman in Corporate Japan, a book about her time as the first American woman to work for Honda in Tokyo, Japan. We talk about those experiences and so much more today. Topics and questions: How did you get to become the first American woman to work at Honda HQ in Japan?  What was it like working in the Ohio factory?  Quality Circles Kaizen — We can always do things better What was an “office lady”? Adjustments to the Japanese working culture? You initiated a Quality Circle around the uniform for office ladies, tell us about that… “Let's Abolish Women's Uniforms” Use of data? Being careful with assumptions Studied it for a year What was the outcome? You describe Cultural laziness (now, “corporate carelessness”) – what do you mean by that? Can this apply to somebody who is new to a company culture, too?? I hope you enjoy the conversation. The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more. This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network. 

Brant Cooper on Being ”Disruption Proof” in Pandemic Times & Beyond

Tuesday Sep 07, 2021

Author of Disruption Proof and The Lean Entrepreneur My guest for Episode #422 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Brant Cooper, appearing for the third time and the first time solo. Brant previously appeared, alongside Patrick Vlaskovits, in Episodes 99 and 162. Show notes: https://www.leanblog.org/422 Brant is the author of the upcoming book, Disruption Proof: Empower People, Create Value, Drive Change, due out in late October, but is available for pre-order now. Brant is The New York Times bestselling author of the book The Lean Entrepreneur (now in a 2nd Edition) and he's CEO and founder of the firm Moves the Needle. He is also organizing a virtual summit — the Endless Disruption Summit — on Sept 30. Topics and questions: “One thing in life is certain: Disruption is the new norm.” — Why is that increasingly so? How can a company become disruption proof? What's a good example of an Industrial Age company that has transformed to thrive in the Digital Age? Lessons from the pandemic? Working from home and now what? Empathy and restaurant signs The entire world is understaffed? The hospital sign about your energy and the workplace The 5Es: Empathy, Exploration, Evidence, Equillibrium, and Ethics His experiences in healthcare — cancer The people are amazing Ransomware attack affected his radiation care I hope you enjoy the conversation. The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more. This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network. 

BONUS: John Shook, Revisited from 2009

Wednesday Aug 25, 2021

We've been on hiatus over the summer here, so I've taken a look back at some of the older episodes from the podcast archives, while being on a bit of a hiatus from recording new episodes. New episodes will be coming again in September Today we're looking back at the episode that I did with John Shook. It was Episode #56, released in January 2009. I hope you enjoy our discussion -- I think it's just as relevant today as it was then even though his book Managing to Learn has been available for more than a decade (it was new when we did this episode). I had a chance to talk with John a few months back and I'm hoping to do a new episode with him sometime soon. The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more. This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network.   

BONUS: David Meier's "Favorite Mistakes" at Toyota and His Distillery

Tuesday Aug 17, 2021

I don't always share new episodes of the "My Favorite Mistake" podcast with you here, but when I do... it's a Lean practitioner. Today, that guest is David Meier, a former Toyota team member and leader, author of two https://amzn.to/3xPHcre with Jeffrey Liker, and a TPS/Lean consultant. Oh, and he has a great distillery in Kentucky now called Glenn's Creek Distillery. Toyota / Lean topics include: More background about what you learned at Toyota Hard for people to talk about mistakes, admitting they're human Blame vs. responsibility?  Toyota teaches that leaders have responsibility  Blame with punishment = "accountability"? Punishment replaced with learning and improvement? Hard on the process, not on the people Mr. Yoshino's mix up with the paint area (Episode #30) My episode about the nearly lost episodes (Episode #16) Mistakes made in the distillery Mistakes about mistakes?

BONUS: Jamie Flinchbaugh, Revisited from 2006

Wednesday Aug 11, 2021

Author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to Lean We've been on hiatus over the summer here, so I've taken a look back at some of the older episodes from the podcast archives, while being on a bit of a hiatus from recording new episodes. Today we're looking back at my first episodes with my good friend, Jamie Flinchbaugh. Show notes: https://www.leanblog.org/2021/08/podcast-bonus-episode-jamie-flinchbaugh-revisited-from-2006/ My voice has gone on hiatus this week… since he can’t talk, he asked me to record this intro for a podcast where we look back at some episodes I’ve been involved in. Jamie was my guest for Episodes 5 and 6 back in 2006, then again for Episode 10 that year. In 2008, he turned the tables and interviewed me in Episode 50. Then, I interviewed Jamie in Episodes 64 and 261, and Jamie turned the tables once again to interview me, in Episode 316, about my book “Measures of Success.” In April 2019, Jamie and I started the “Lean Whiskey” podcast and we plan on recording episode #29 of that series on Sunday… if my voice is back to normal. Today, we’re sharing Episodes 5 and 6 together. The episodes were shorter back then, so combined it’s just under 30 minutes of audio, talking about Waste and the Role of Leadership. I hope you enjoy our discussion from 2006, lmost exactly 15 years ago. As always, thanks for listening, and please do check out “Lean Whiskey.” The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more. This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network.   

Ryan McCormack on His “Operational Excellence Mixtapes” & More

Wednesday Aug 04, 2021

Links and show notes: https://www.leanblog.org/421 We've been on hiatus over the summer here, but I did a live streaming video the other day with my friend Ryan McCormack, who regular readers of this blog will recognize as the creator of the bi-weekly "Operational Excellence Mixtape" emails that he allows me to publish here on the Lean Blog. He was also my guest for Episode 12 of the "Lean Whiskey" podcast. In this 30-minute discussion, Ryan and I chat about: Why did you start the "mixtapes"? What are some favorite books and podcasts that you have highlighted recently? What have been the transferrable Lean lessons going into healthcare and now back out into other settings? Best Thing / Worst Thing -- What's the best thing about doing OpEx work? The worst thing? I hope you enjoy the conversation. The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.   This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network.   

BONUS: In Memoriam -- Podcast Guests Who Have Passed Away

Tuesday Jul 27, 2021

During our summer hiatus from releasing new podcast episodes, we're looking back at previous episodes of the podcast. Today, sadly, we're taking a look back at guests from the past 15 years who have since passed away. May their wisdom and legacy live on through these episodes, as we think about them today. Links to the episodes and more can be found at https://www.leanblog.org/inmemoriam

Katie Anderson: One Year of "Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn" and the New Audiobook

Tuesday Jul 13, 2021

Author, speaker, coach, publisher, and more Show notes and links: https://www.leanblog.org/420  My guest for Episode #420 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Katie Anderson, appearing for the sixth time and the first time as a live-streaming guest! Katie is a leadership & learning coach, consultant, speaker, author | Japan Study Trip Leader. She's the founder and principal consultant at her own firm. You can find previous episodes here. She's the author of the book Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn: Lessons from Toyota Leader Isao Yoshino on a Lifetime of Continuous Learning. Tomorrow is the first anniversary (or birthday) of the book! To celebrate, there's a short-term Kindle book sale (99 cents or 99 pence in the UK) from Wednesday to Friday this week July 14, 15, 16. We're also celebrating that tomorrow is the official release date for the audiobook! It's available through Amazon or Audible. Topics, questions, and links related to today's episode include: You asked yesterday, in your email newsletter, “What does leadership mean to you?” — how do you answer that question? How has your answer changed thanks to the influence of Mr. Yoshino? What have you learned in the past year since the publication of your book? Or I should ask, what stands out most in terms of what you have learned? Did the audiobook process yield any further content to the print edition? What was the process for creating and recording the audio book? Is there something new, work related or otherwise, that you've started learning recently? Has helped you think about learning, coaching, and practicing differently? You and Mr. Yoshino were guests together on “My Favorite Mistake” — if I had a podcast called “My Most Recent Mistake” — what is one that comes to mind? Best Thing / Worst Thing — What's the best thing and the worst thing about… Writing and publishing a book? Working in healthcare improvement? Being active on LinkedIn? Living in Japan full time as an American? The gelato post that Katie wrote Tell us about some of the coaching you've been doing, including the K2C2 Coaching Communities… Leading to Learn Accelerator The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more. This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network. 

Revisiting #124: Paul O'Neill on Habitual Excellence and Safety

Tuesday Jun 29, 2021

Former CEO of Alcoa, U.S. Treasury Secretary Originally released as Episode #124 in July, 2011 Show notes: https://www.leanblog.org/124 Today’s episode is a bit different than our usual interviews and conversations. Today, I am republishing an interview that Mark Graban did in 2011 with the late Paul O’Neill Sr., the former non-executive chair for the firm Value Capture. He was, of course, so much more than that, (CEO of Alcoa, United States Treasury Secretary, and more), as you’ll hear in this interview that originally appeared as Episode 124. In summary, Mr. O'Neill talked about: Leadership mindsets required for dramatic workplace safety and patient safety improvement, including a near 100% reduction in hospital-acquired infections at Pittsburgh's Allegheny General Hospital Why the United States has accomplished “practically nothing” nationally since the famed 1999 Institute of Medicine report “To Err Is Human” Why society's most lacking skill is “leadership” Alternative ways of compensating patients who are harmed by the healthcare system while ensuring real improvements are made by learning from each problem Why leaders in Washington D.C., at the time, should have shifted from “financial engineering” to visiting ThedaCare to learn about “the real way” we should improve health care. The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more. This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network. 

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