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About Mark Graban
Mark's motivation is to humbly help others learn how to improve and sustain performance. In his healthcare work, this means improving the quality of care and patient safety, while also reducing cost and improving the workplace experience. Across multiple sectors, goals also include improving the customer (or patient) experience, to help the development of leaders and employees, and to build stronger, more adaptive organizations for the long term.
He has learned, practiced, and taught these methodologies in settings including manufacturing, healthcare, and technology startups. Working independently since 2010, and in partnership with other consulting groups, Mark enjoys working with organizations that are looking for better ways to improve, with leaders who are willing to lead that charge.
Mark also consults part time as a Senior Advisor for healthcare clients with the firm Value Capture. He is also a Senior Advisor to the technology and software company KaiNexus.
See more at his website: http://www.markgraban.com
Mark earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University as well as a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA as a Fellow in the MIT SloanLeaders for Global Operations Program.
Books and Publications
His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, a management book about using simple, yet practical statistical methods that help leaders at all levels overreact less to their metrics, which frees up time for real, focused, sustainable improvement.
Mark is also the author of the book Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement (Productivity Press), which was selected for a 2009 Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award, the first healthcare book to win this award. The book has been translated into eight languages. A 3rd edition was released in 2016.
Mark has also co-authored a second book, titled Healthcare Kaizen: Engaging Front-Line Staff in Sustainable Continuous Improvements, also a Shingo Research Award recipient. A newly revised and condensed edition, The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen: Leadership for a Continuously Learning and Improving Organization is also available.
He also edited and contributed to an anthology titled Practicing Lean: Learning How to Learn How to Get Better... Better, a book of reflections and lessons learned about change, growth, and Lean management written by Mark and 15 other authors from various industries.
He is the founder, lead blogger, and podcaster at LeanBlog.org, started in January 2005. See a list of his other articles and publications. He is also a "LinkedIn Influencer," where he contributes articles on leadership and business for a broader audience.
Mark has worked in automotive (General Motors), the PC industry (Dell), and industrial products (Honeywell). At Honeywell, Mark was certified as a "Lean Expert" (equivalent to "Lean Black Belt"). He has also worked for two software and technology startup companies.
From 2005 to 2009, Mark was a senior consultant with ValuMetrix Services, then a division of Johnson & Johnson, where he led many successful improvement projects with sustainable results in the United States, Canada, and England.
From June 2009 to June 2011, Mark was a Senior Fellow with the Lean Enterprise Institute. In that role, he served as the Director of Communication & Technology for the Healthcare Value Network, a collaboration of healthcare organizations from across North America, a partnership between LEI and Catalysis (formerly the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value).
Speaking and Teaching
Mark is a popular speaker at conferences and private company events. Mark has been a speaker and coach for organizations across the U.S., in multiple provinces across Canada, and other countries including Finland, Holland, Sweden, Japan, Thailand, and China.
He has guest lectured at schools including MIT, Wharton, the UT Health Science Center Clinical Safety and Effectiveness course, and Ohio State University and has served as a faculty member for the Lean Enterprise Institute, Catalysis, and Studer Group. He has been quoted and interviewed in many publications, including Health Affairs and the New York Times.
Honors and Boards
Mark has been honored as a Diplomate member of the Society for Health Systems.
He serves on the board of the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, the board of the AME Southwest Region, and on the advisory board for the Michigan Lean Consortium.
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Books By Mark Graban
STOP REACTING TO NOISE. START RESPONDING TO SIGNALS.
Measures of Success shows business leaders how.
A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR HOW TO MANAGE YOUR METRICS
Organizations depend on metrics for their business. Question is, are they helping people do the right things? Or, encouraging them to overreact to every uptick, downturn, and change?
In other words, reacting to noise.
Noise is present in every metric. But, it’s our reaction to noise that causes waste and stress. Too often, people don’t recognize this.
Like feeling stuck on a rollercoaster you no longer enjoy.
We do and explain things that don’t help us improve. At the cost of doing things that do. No need to be jittery about every change in a metric. Not by a long shot.
Measures of Success shows a better way to chart and manage your metrics, in any organization or setting. For your business processes and activities, you need to know what’s working, what’s not, and what to change. And why. Then, you can determine what to stop doing, what to start doing, what to keep doing.
So you can…
Jump off the metrics rollercoaster, by responding to signals.
Learn how to identify meaningful signals in a metric. To respond just right.
Or perhaps, not at all.
You’ll learn how with methods easy to understand, making it obvious what activities to do next. Loads of vivid stories and clear examples from healthcare, software companies, and more. With compelling case studies from the news and personal lives, too.
“What gets measured gets managed.“
We’ve all heard that. But did you ever learn how to manage a metric? This ain’t about gaming the system or fudging the numbers. This is about delivering real value, understood by everyone, and proven with data.
Learn a better way to manage your measures.
"MEASURES OF SUCCESS will help you tame the firehose of data flooding your organization, turning it into an orderly stream of information you can use to improve your business. Mark Graban steps through the process of collecting and analyzing the kind of data you focus on... If you’re navigating a tough business environment, you need this book."
- Daniel Pink, Author of "WHEN" and "DRIVE"
"By combining a range of case studies and stories across industries, including many from his own personal experience, with detailed, clear explanations of what Process Behavior Charts are and why they're so effective for managing data, Mark Graban has written a readable, informative book to guide any leader who wants to help an organization achieve true and lasting success. Improvement has been made easier thanks to his work."
- Eric Ries, author of "The Lean Startup" and "The Startup Way"
"...everyone who is exposed to business data of any type needs to read this book."
- Donald J. Wheeler, Ph.D.
Organizations around the world are using Lean to redesign care and improve processes in a way that achieves and sustains meaningful results for patients, staff, physicians, and health systems. Lean Hospitals, Third Edition explains how to use the Lean methodology and mindsets to improve safety, quality, access, and morale while reducing costs, increasing capacity, and strengthening the long-term bottom line.
This updated edition of a Shingo Research Award recipient begins with an overview of Lean methods. It explains how Lean practices can help reduce various frustrations for caregivers, prevent delays and harm for patients, and improve the long-term health of your organization.
The second edition of this book presented new material on identifying waste, A3 problem solving, engaging employees in continuous improvement, and strategy deployment. This third edition adds new sections on structured Lean problem solving methods (including Toyota Kata), Lean Design, and other topics. Additional examples, case studies, and explanations are also included throughout the book.
Mark Graban is also the co-author, with Joe Swartz, of the book Healthcare Kaizen: Engaging Frontline Staff in Sustainable Continuous Improvements, which is also a Shingo Research Award recipient. Mark and Joe also wrote The Executive’s Guide to Healthcare Kaizen.
Healthcare leaders around the world are facing tough challenges, including the need to deliver better value for patients and payers, which means improving quality while reducing cost. It might seem impossible to do both, but organizations around the world are proving it's possible, through Lean. Health systems are able to enhance all dimensions of patient care, including both safety and service, while creating more engaging and less frustrating workplaces for healthcare professionals and staff… all leading to improved long-term financial performance.
Building on the success of the first two editions of this Shingo Prize-Winning book, Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement, Third Edition explains how to use the Lean philosophy and management system to improve safety, quality, access, and morale while reducing costs. Lean healthcare expert Mark Graban examines the challenges facing today’s health systems, including rising costs, falling reimbursement rates or budget constraints, employee retention, and harm to patients.
The new edition of this international bestseller (translated into eight languages) begins with an overview of Lean methods and mindsets. It explains how engaging staff and leaders in Lean practices such as value stream mapping and process observation can help reduce wasted motion for caregivers, prevent delays for patients, and improve the long-term health of your organization. In addition to a new introduction from John Toussaint, this updated edition includes:
- New and updated material on identifying waste, A3 problem solving, employee idea management, kanban for materials management, and strategy deployment
- New case studies and examples—including a new 5S case study (Franciscan St. Francis Health) and other case examples highlighting the challenges and successes of an academic medical center and a small urgent access hospital, featuring quotes and stories from executives
- New examples and updated data throughout, including revised chapters on patient safety and patient flow challenges and the improvements driven by Lean
Detailing the mindsets and methods needed for a successful transition to a Lean culture, the book provides the understanding of Lean practices—including value stream mapping, standardized work, error proofing, root cause problem solving, and daily improvement processes—needed to reduce common hospital errors and improve performance in other dimensions. The balanced approach outlined in this book will guide you through the process of improving the quality of care and service while reducing costs in your hospital.
*The Lean Certification and Oversight Appeals committee has approved Lean Hospitals as recommended reading for those in pursuit of Lean Bronze Certification from SME, AME, Shingo Prize, and ASQ
Healthcare Kaizen focuses on the principles and methods of daily continuous improvement, or Kaizen, for healthcare professionals and organizations. Kaizen is a Japanese word that means "change for the better," as popularized by Masaaki Imai in his 1986 book Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success and through the books of Norman Bodek, both of whom contributed introductory material for this book.
Winner of a 2013 Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award!
In 1989, Dr. Donald M. Berwick, founder of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, endorsed the principles of Kaizen in the New England Journal of Medicine, describing it as "the continuous search for opportunities for all processes to get better." This book shows how to make this goal a reality.
Healthcare Kaizen shares some of the methods used by numerous hospitals around the world, including Franciscan St. Francis Health, where co-author Joe Swartz has led these efforts. Most importantly, the book covers the management mindsets and philosophies required to make Kaizen work effectively in a hospital department or as an organization-wide program.
All of the examples in the book were shared by leading healthcare organizations, with over 200 full-color pictures and visual illustrations of Kaizen-based improvements that were initiated by nurses, physicians, housekeepers, senior executives and other staff members at all levels.
Healthcare Kaizen will be helpful for organizations that have embraced weeklong improvement events, but now want to follow the lead of ThedaCare, Virginia Mason Medical Center, and others who have moved beyond just doing events into a more complete management system based on Lean or the Toyota Production System.
It’s often said, without much reflection, that people hate change. The experiences shared in this book prove that people actually love change when they are fully engaged in the process, get to make improvements that improve patient care and make their day less frustrating, and when they don’t fear being laid off as a result of their improvements.
Mark Graban explains why his new book Healthcare Kaizen is a great resource for healthcare organizations looking to make improvements on the frontlines.(www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4JdaH03Dbo&feature=youtu.be)
Check out a recent entry about this book on the Virginia Mason Medical Center Blog, Could this new book help drive your Lean journey? (http://virginiamasonblog.org/2012/09/05/could-this-new-book-help-drive-your-lean-journey/)
Check out what the experts at the Franciscan St. Francis Health System have to say about Healthcare Kaizen. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcGmP5gLEPo&feature=c4-overview&list=UU7jiTxn4nkMzOE5eTbf0Upw
Doctors don't "implement medicine," they practice medicine.
Lawyers don't "implement cases," they practice law.
Shouldn't Lean facilitators, consultants, managers, and the like, also "practice Lean?"
When most of us start with Lean, the practices and principles are new. We might struggle to make change happen. I know I did. Our initial clumsy efforts hopefully turn into proficiency and mastery over time. We shift from "doing Lean" to "being Lean" and teaching others how to be Lean.
This book is a collection of honest and unvarnished first hand stories about learning, failing, and getting better at leading Lean transformation efforts. What mistakes have been made? What are the lessons learned? How do we "Plan, Do, Study, Adjust" our way to more effective Lean transformation models?
Proceeds from the book will be donated to the non-profit Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation. Disclosure: Mark Graban is on the board of the Batz Foundation.
We have a diverse set of contributors from settings like manufacturing, healthcare, software, startups, etc.
Author of the books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, blogger at LeanBlog.org
Director of Operational Excellence for Aon National Flood Services, Inc.
Chief Executive Officer of Cornerstone Critical Care Specialty Hospital of Southwest Louisiana
President of FastCap, author of 2-Second Lean and Lean Health
15 years' experience in operations management / leadership in retail, service, and manufacturing
Expert in Lean government after a long career in manufacturing
Lean Manufacturing Group Leader for Tesla Motors
Continuous Improvement Manager for the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton
David works at Johnson & Johnson Canada, the largest consumer healthcare company in Canada
Administrative Director, Business Transformation, Franciscan Alliance, co-author of Healthcare Kaizen
Physician and Lean improvement leader in Scotland
Principal Consultant with The Consultancy Company based near Oxford, England
Author, The Incredible Transformation of Gregory Todd: a Novel about Leadership and Managing Change
President and Founder of OpX Solutions, LLC and former Lean leader at General Electric
Lean advisor, speaker, and author, who has advised over 300 companies on their Lean journey
Founder, Lesa Nichols Consulting and former Toyota leader
The book also contains relevant posts from Mark Graban's LeanBlog.org.
Each chapter contains a link to the original podcast page and a direct link to the MP3 file. Some devices may allow you to read and listen at the same time.
Podcast #1 - Norman Bodek on Kaizen and Continuous Improvement
Podcast #3: Jeffrey Liker
Podcast #5: Jamie Flinchbaugh on Lean and Waste
Podcast #9: David Mann on Creating a Lean Culture
Podcast #19: Jim Womack, Machine That Changed the World, Revisited
Podcast #31: David Meier, Toyota Talent
Podcast #54: John Toussaint, MD, Lean Healthcare
Podcast #56: John Shook, Managing to Learn
Podcast #57: Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards
Podcast #58: Steven J. Spear, The High-Velocity Edge
Podcast #96: Pascal Dennis, The Remedy
Podcast #115: Eric Ries on The Lean Startup
Podcast #117: Prof. Samuel Culbert on Getting Rid of Performance Reviews
Podcast #124: Paul O’Neill Podcast Interview on Patient Safety
Podcast #126: Bob Lutz on “Car Guys vs. Bean Counters”
Podcast #132: Bob Emiliani, Wiremold & Virginia Mason
Podcast #142: Eric Ries on Taiichi Ohno & The Lean Startup
Podcast #153: Robert Maurer, PhD, Everyday Kaizen
Podcast #164: Rachelle Schultz, CEO of Winona Health
Podcast #203: Chris Jerry, The Emily Jerry Foundation (Part1)
Podcast #216: Dan Jones, Lean Outside of Manufacturing
Podcast #217: Alan Robinson, The Idea-Driven Organization
Podcast #225 - John Toussaint, MD, “Management on the Mend”
Drawing on his years of working with hospitals, Mark Graban explains why and how Lean can be used to improve safety, quality, and efficiency in a healthcare setting. After highlighting the benefits of Lean methods for patients, employees, physicians, and the hospital itself, he explains how Lean manufacturing staples such as Value Stream Mapping and process observation can help hospital personnel identify and eliminate waste in their own processes — effectively preventing delays for patients, reducing wasted motion for caregivers, and improving the quality of care.
Additionally, Graban describes how Standardized Work and error-proofing can prevent common hospital errors and details root cause problem-solving and daily improvement processes that can engage all personnel in systemic improvement. A unique guide for healthcare professionals, Lean Hospitals clearly elaborates the steps they can take to begin the proactive process of Lean implementation.
The book has an accompanying website with more information.
Mark Graban was quoted in a July 2010 New York Times article about lean hospitals.
*Given the increase in candidates from the health services sector, the Lean Certification and Oversight Appeals committee has approved Lean Hospitals by Mark Graban as recommended reading in pursuit of the Lean Bronze Certification exam.
Mark Graban speaks about his book on the CRC Press YouTube channel.
The posts have been freshly edited and updated, with updated links and new reflections being added at the end of some posts. Content has been organized into sections for different sports: baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and miscellaneous.
What can David Stern and the NBA, Rex Ryan of the New York Jets, and the Atlanta Braves teach us about Lean leadership? What can we learn about Lean by observing the beer concession stands or other stadium operations? What does a missing Olympic hockey puck teach us about problem solving? Read this book to find out.
The book is the equivalent of 266 pages in paperback form.
Last updated February 2017.