My guest for episode #349 is John Dyer, president of his consulting firm, John Dyer & Associates, Inc., and author of the new book, The Façade of Excellence: Defining a New Normal of Leadership, which will be released on October 1, 2019.

John has been a guest previously in episodes #229 and #280, talking about Dr. W. Edwards Deming, "The Red Bead Experiment," and more.

Today, we talk about the book, how to find out of there is a "facade" of excellence, and why "fear makes good people do stupid things," as John says. What's a façade? "A false appearance that makes someone or something seem more pleasant or better than they really are."


Our guest today for Episode 348 is Cinnamon Dixon, Director Of Continuous Improvement at Cleveland Clinic. I interviewed her for the KaiNexus Continuous Improvement Podcast series and I'm cross posting that interview here to give it more exposure.


Our KaiNexus team members who were at the Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit in June were really impressed with Cinnamon's presentation on their "tiered huddle" process that's part of their Lean methodology. So, we asked her to do the podcast.


You can a full transcript via the KaiNexus blog.


I recently had a chance to visit Cleveland Clinic and I spent the morning observing their tiered huddles, so I'll be writing a blog post about that soon. Thanks to Cinnamon and Cleveland Clinic for being so willing to share!

Our guest today for Episode 347 is Brad Parsons, the CEO of NEA Baptist, in Jonesboro, Arkansas. NEA Baptist is a 228-bed hospital and 140-provider medical group serving northeast Arkansas -- part of Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation.

Brad is also the co-author of the new book Creating an Effective Management System: Integrating Policy Deployment, TWI, and Kata. His co-authors have been guests on the podcast before -- Patrick Graupp and Skip Steward.

In this episode, we'll talk about core themes from the book, including his role as the leader of their transformational efforts to implement and continue improving an effective management system -- something that's important for so many reasons. We'll also talk about "Process Behavior Charts" and his experience with Don Wheeler.



Joining me for Episode 346 of the podcast is Mark Ryan, a Transformation Coach and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at Franciscan Health.


Mark will be one of the hosts and facilitators at our upcoming "Kaizen Live!" site visit event at Franciscan St. Francis Health in Indianapolis. Only two spots remain, so register today if you'd like to join us.


As we talk about in the episode, Franciscan does much more than daily Kaizen. They've built upon that foundation of staff engagement to add other Lean practices -- under the banner of what they call "Managing for Daily Improvement," or MDI. They use "strategy deployment" and other methods to align the organization in their goals and improvement efforts.


I hope you enjoy the discussion, whether you are joining us in Indianapolis or not.  <-- read a transcript here

My guest for Episode #345 is Edward Niedermeyer, author of the book Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors. It's available now for pre-order at Amazon (with an August 20 release date).

Ed is currently the Senior Editor of Mobility Technology at The Drive. He was previously the editor-in-chief for the site The Truth About Cars. He's also one of the hosts of the Autonocast podcast about autonomous vehicle technology.

In the episode, Ed and I talk about his thoughts on Toyota as somebody who has covered the automotive industry for over a decade. While his book has a lot of interesting details and stories about Tesla and Elon Musk (for example, I learned that Elon was not a founder), we focus mainly on the failed relationship between Tesla and Toyota.

We also touch on the dynamics that lead to somebody who criticizes a company being labeled a "hater." It's interesting, perhaps, because Ed and I both want Tesla to succeed. Constructive criticism shouldn't be interpreted as wanting an organization to fail -- and that sometimes happens to people inside of different organizations, as well.

This is a long discussion, at about 75 minutes, but I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Joining me for Episode #344 is David Reid, a mechanical engineer whose career has taken him from improvement work at Michelin Tire, to being a pastor, to now helping the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain improve through Lean and Kaizen practices and mindsets.

I was really excited to see the cover story that was in the May 2019 issue of ISE Magazine (Industrial & Systems Engineering). The headline inside reads, “From lean modules to a lean mindset — Chick-fil-A's success shows how leveraging your greatest asset speeds up cultural change.”

In this episode, I get to ask David about some of the drivers for Lean at Chick-fil-A, which is already a high-growth company with many happy customers and employees.

How do they influence the owner/operators of stores to embrace Lean and to engage every employee in continuous improvement? Why did they learn that a top-down engineering-driven model couldn't possibly drive enough improvement? How does a Facebook page enter the equation for employees (and note that using Facebook was an employee idea) instead of “building an app.”

There are many great “nuggets” of wisdom here from David, pun absolutely intended. I hope you enjoy the episode!

My guest for Episode #343 of the podcast is Amanda Mewborn, an executive director of project management for Piedmont Health.

I've known Amanda through the Society for Health Systems and she's one of the very small number of people I know with both engineering and nursing degrees. She has a B.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering and an M.S. in Health Systems from Georgia Tech and a B.S. in nursing from Georgia State University.

So, in today's episode, we talk about that interesting combination of skill sets and why she got a nursing degree. We also chat about her career in healthcare, along with some of the facility design and construction work she has been involved with. We also hear her thoughts on why it's important to have the engagement and involvement of front-line staff (and patients) in the design process.

For links and more, go to

My guest for Episode #342 of the podcast is Adam Ward, the author of Lean Design in Healthcare: A Journey to Improve Quality and Process of Care.

Adam is an innovation process expert and independent advisor. He spent the first 12 years of his career designing cars for Honda and the next 12 years working with Fortune 500 companies to turn around their product development process. A resident Buckeye, he coaches students at Ohio State's MBOE program.

In this episode, we discuss his early days at Honda and how he made a career transition into healthcare. We'll talk about the story behind his book and some of his experiences and practices that are transferrable — going from “simultaneous engineering” to “Lean design.” What are some of the most common failures? How can we coach leaders so they aren't giving just lip service to these methodologies? We discuss all of that and more…

My guest for Episode #341 of the podcast is Dr. Rob Hackett, an anaesthesiologist in Sydney, Australia. Rob has become known around the world for his role in what's now called the “Theatre Cap Challenge” — a method for improving communication and, thereby, improving patient safety and outcomes.

As we talk about today, Rob had the idea of writing his name and role on his surgical cap with a sharpie. Eventually, he (and others) have gotten printed caps made as shown below in my LinkedIn post about our discussion (it has received 200,000 views and counting).

As I wrote on LinkedIn, Rob has, unfortunately, been trolled, threatened, and bullied for this seemingly benign and obvious improvement idea — both in the workplace and online. It seems that outsiders to healthcare and those who are new to medicine find an idea like this to be obviously helpful, but those who have been in healthcare the longest struggle to accept it.

I appreciate Rob's perspective that those who oppose this innovation, for whatever reason, probably aren't bad people — they just have a different view and, possibly, some old habits or cognitive biases that they are stuck in.

The interview goes for over an hour. One thing I'd like to do is produce a shorter audio piece that's more like an NPR news story. See below for a full transcript and for links, videos, and more. His website is

Here is a special sample preview of a new podcast... the “Lean Whiskey” Podcast

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About the Podcast

Mark Graban and Jamie Flinchbaugh are two guys with a lot in common: Lean, writing books, speaking, consulting... and a love of good whiskey. Like the Car Talk guys, they both went to MIT... but Lean isn't rocket science. Let's hope they can hold their liquor, because they're not holding back on sharing their opinions... it's time for Lean Whiskey... Lean talk with a fun spirit!

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