TLM 016 The Outstanding Organization Karen Martin

Karen Martin is helping companies design and build better, more efficient operations by pinpointing why performance improvement programs usually fail.  Chaos, the sneaky but powerful force that frustrates customers, keeps business leaders awake at  night, and saps company morale.

In her new book: The Outstanding Organization:

Karen offers a toolbox for combating chaos by creating the organizational conditions that will allow a company’s improvement efforts to return greater gains.

Karen’s system focuses on for key behaviors Clarity, Focus, Discipline, and Engagement.

Show notes:

Four causes of chaos

  • Lack of Clarity
  • Lack of Focus
  • Lack of Discipline
  • Lack of Engagement

CLARITY Words Matter,

  • Truth, telling/seeking
  • Nice, is not always honest
  • Fuzzy Words: I think, Maybe, I’ve heard They….
  • Culture Indicators and Key Words

CLARITY: Key Performance Metrics

  • Percent Complete and Accurate: (%C&A)
  • Process Time: (PT)
  • Lead Time: (LT)
  • Achieving clarity visual management – go and see


  • The hidden cost of being unfocused
  • The beauty of “Not Doing”
  • Building Consensus with Catchball
  • Focused Meetings: No calls, texts, IM’s emails etc.


  • Predictable performance
  • You’re already working hard
  • PDSA – Everywhere
  • “Community of Scientists”
  • Standardization


  • Organizational climate and systems
  • Three C’s
    • Connection, Control, Creativity
  • Your hired – the on boarding process
  • Process Pairing
  • Blue Angels – Pensacola Florida – example of an Outstanding Organization
    • Never canceled do to maintenance issues


TLM 015 Lean and Healthcare Mark Graban

Mark Graban  

Mark is a consultant, author, keynote speaker, and blogger in the word of Lean Healthcare.  He is an experienced consultant and change agent with a background in industrial and mechanical engineering.   Since August 2005, Mark has worked exclusively in healthcare, where he has coached Lean teams in North America and the United Kingdom.

Mark recently joined the software company KaiNexus as Chief Improvement Officer, to help further their mission of  “making improvement easier”  in healthcare organizations.

In this interview we covered material from both his books: Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen.

Join us as we talk with Mark Graban, here are a few of the points covered:

  • Renewed Purpose – Dr Jacob Caron – “Lean and Loving… a mission impossible”?
  • Henry Ford 1922 – “It is not at all certain whether hospitals as they are now managed exist for patients of for doctors”
  • Lean is helping hospitals improve
  • Problems in Healthcare
  • Good Quality Costs Less
  • Value and Waste
  • Standardized Work as a Foundation of Lean, can that really happen in a hospital – where every day is different?……
  • Preventing errors
  • Improving Flow
  • Getting Started

TLM 014 Interview with Colleen Aylward

Staying Relevant in an Ever Changing World. 


Colleen is the author of the book “From Bedlam to Boardroom”

“Companies are no longer look for good generalists but rather very specific problem solvers. They are looking for individuals who have a proven track record of solving deep problems in very specific areas such as international tariffs and trade or operational excellence in Lean, for example”.

Colleen explains the “Must Have Ingredients” to online branding and visibility.

As an executive talent search expert, and owner of  Devon James Associates, Inc. she has served such companies as: Amazon, Visio, Cranium, Avenue A, and dozens of other start-ups.

Disruptive ideas and edgy theories landed Colleen on the pages of Fast Company, SmartMoney, Forbes, Fortune, Inc, Wall Street Journal, and CEO Magazine.

Show notes: some points from interview:

  • Found not hired
  • Narrow & Deep
  • Assessment testing
  • Discover the silver thread in your career
  • On line profile
  • 83% use the web
  • Key words, Kaizen and your search
  • Six degrees of separation
  • LIFO – last in, first up on the web
  • 500 connections
  • Groups
  • Discussions – forums – Engage your community: Lean Manufacturing, Operations etc.

Please join me in welcoming Colleen Aylward to Today’s Lean Manufacturing Podcast.

TLM 013 Interview with Mark Thompson session Three

A3 a Lean Continuous Improvement Problem Solving Tool


This week I welcome back Mark Thompson with ATN, Alabama Technology Network, to discuss A3.  A3 is a Lean continuous improvement tool made famous by the Toyota Motor Corporation in the training of its engineers and floor supervisors.   The power of using the A3 a (11’’ x 17’’) paper size work sheet is multifaceted.

It serves as a problem solving report that guides the users in clearly and concisely identifying the problem at hand by writing a clear problem statement, then taking all important steps of action.

It then moves to an objective section by clearly identifying the desired outcomes which enables an individual or team to keep their efforts focused.  This is followed by a clear depiction of the current state, followed by a description of a future state condition sought by the problem solvers.

The goal of the A3 is to focus on root cause problem solving.  At this point other Lean tools may be employed by the team to identify and discover the true cause or condition of the problem or improvement sought such as asking the five whys, a fish bone diagram and so on.

The A3 drives collaborative efforts for problem solvers to address the real root cause of a problem.

Mark does a great job in this podcast of describing the benefit and effective use of A3 to any organization.  I am delighted to have Mark back on the show to share with us his experience with A3, a continuous improvement tool.


A3 Project Plan

TLM 012 Henry Ford the Father of Lean Manufacturing

TLM 012 Henry Ford the Father of Lean Manufacturing

Henry Ford the Father of Lean


Ford is sometimes known as the father of the automobile, but to me his enduring contribution is the fact that he is really the father of continuous flow.  In a sense he could be thought of as the father of Lean.

In my podcast today, I talk again with Mark Thompson covering the fascinating book by Henry Ford, “Today and Tomorrow”.

“Many of the ideas we call “just-in-time” came from the way Henry Ford organized his production process.  In 1926 it took his workers only 81 hours to go from iron ore to finished product.  Imagine it taking only three days and nine hours to produce an automobile.” –  Publisher’s Foreword – Productivity Press Portland, Oregon.

That is an amazing feat even by today’s standards.  Other concepts like parts standardization, continuously improving work methods, doubling workers wages and enlisting their hearts and not just their brawn, are what make this book a seminal work in understanding the history of production in America and the pursuit of Lean. 

Mark Thompson does a great job in bringing these and more topics out in our conversation together.

TLM 011 Interview with Mark Thompson

Mark S. Thompson, Project Engineer at Alabama

Technology Network,  teaches and implements Lean, quality and  environmental management systems.   By using Lean techniques such as 5S, standard work, quick changeover, kanbans and visual systems, he has helped companies increase throughput, improve employee retention and reduce scrap.

Mark is Lean Bronze Certified as well as an ASQ Certified Quality Auditor (CQA) and ASQ Certified Six Sigma Green Belt (CSSGB)He works in Manufacturing, Shipbuilding,Government agencies and Community Colleges.Mark holds a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Mississippi State University.Mark, his wife and three children currently reside in Mobile, AL.

Here are some of the books Mark mentioned.  Click on images below to learn more about them.