<-- 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

If you like it, please subscribe by searching your podcast directory for "Lean Whiskey" or go to

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!

Joining me for Episode #340 of the podcast is Dr. Joy Furnival CEng MIET, an experienced senior NHS manager, improvement leader, and chartered engineer. I first crossed paths with Joy at a Lean healthcare event in England back in 2007. At the time, she was working for David Fillingham and the Bolton NHS Trust, which was an early adopter of Lean in the NHS.

In this episode, we talk about how we are, in some ways, “Lean twins,” as we both started our careers as engineers in manufacturing. Our career paths then diverged when she joined the NHS whilst I've worked as an outside consultant.

I very much appreciate her perspectives as we talk about her roles in a few different hospitals and as a “national improvement advisor” for the NHS. I hope you'll enjoy the conversation as much as I did.

Joining me for Episode #339 of the podcast is Charles Protzman, author of a great number of Lean healthcare books. Today, we are talking about a book that he wrote for a broader audience, The BASICS Lean Implementation Model: Lean Tools to Drive Daily Innovation and Increased Profitability.

I first met Charlie over a decade ago when I worked for Johnson & Johnson's VauMetrix Services consulting group — and he was a big influence on our team and our methodology. I'm glad to finally have him here on the podcast to discuss how he navigates the differences between manufacturing and healthcare settings and why he “looks forward” to questions about patients not being cars. We'll also talk about his BASICS model of Baseline, Assess/Analyze, Suggest Solutions, Implementation, Check, and Sustain.

We also discuss the power of direct workplace observation, something that I wrote about in Lean Hospitals and I discussed with a healthcare CEO, Vance Jackson, in Episode #337.

My guest for Episode #338 is Mr. Grey Dube, the Chief Executive Officer at Leratong Hospital. He has over 40 years' experience in the Public Service, including time as CEO since 2005. Leratong Hospital is an 855 bedded regional hospital with over 1700 staff members, located in Mogale City, Krugersdorp, South Africa (just east of Johannesburg).

Grey is the third consecutive hospital CEO guest, including Gladys Bogoshi (also from South Africa) and Vance Jackson (from the U.S.). I think it's interesting to hear similar philosophies and mindsets from these leaders.

Like Gladys, Grey is going to be a keynote speaker at this year's Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit, to be held in Washington, DC on June 13 & 14. I'll be there and I hope you can join us. I'll also be teaching a pre-Summit workshop on Measures of Success that I hope you can attend.

In this episode, we talk about how he got introduced to Lean and how he leads the Lean transformation efforts, including assessing and modeling behaviors including humility and self-discipline. How is he working to change the culture to one where all people are trained to be scientific problem solvers? Grey shares that, some of their success stories, some of their challenges, and more in this conversation.

It's my second straight podcast with a healthcare CEO. This time, joining me for Episode #337 is Vance Jackson, FACHE, FACMPE, the President & CEO of Davis Health System, based in Elkins, West Virginia.

Vance and I talk about how he was admittedly skeptical about Lean at a previous healthcare organization. But, over time, he realized the importance of Lean and the need for him to lead differently — getting input from everybody instead of the old autocratic way that we see in so many healthcare organizations. How does Vance lead by example as a CEO? Why is it so important for him to go to the “gemba” and observe the actual work and the workplace environment?

We talk about all of that and more in this episode.

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