Welcome back brew nation!   As the “Friday Coffee Guy” I am excited each week to provide a weekly assembly of material I am reading, listening to, watching, or thinking about that is designed to equip and call you to uncommon leadership, and I am grateful you choose to spend a few minutes with me!

Here is your weekly sip of what I have been reading, listening to, or watching to equip me to:

  • Network Well – I was fortunate enough recently to have the opportunity to present to the Executive MBA students at the NYU Stern School of Business on the topic of Lean Transformation in Healthcare.   Speaking in front of a room full of diverse executive leaders looking to grow was a truly unforgettable experience. Thank you to all who attended and for the insightful questions and feedback. A special thanks to Byron Scott, MD, MBA , for inviting me to share with his class.  The premise of the presentation came from a quote by Dr. Robert Ebert, Founder of the Harvard Community Health Plan:

“The existing deficiencies in Healthcare cannot be corrected simply by supplying more personnel, more facilities and more money.  These problems can only be solved by organizing the personnel, facilities and financing into a conceptual framework and operating system that will provide optimally for the health needs of the population.”

While that quote may sound like it was spoken recently, especially if you have experienced the American Healthcare system as my father and father-in-law have experienced it over the past few months, it wasn’t.  Dr. Ebert made this point in 1967!!!

It is my belief that the Healthcare system in our country CAN and WILL be fixed.  The students of the Executive MBA course at NYU made a choice to enroll in the Quality Improvement in Healthcare course as an elective and they gave me hope with their engagement and attention.  The solution I proposed to these students was a Quality Improvement methodology called Lean Transformation (aka The Toyota Production System).  I have spent nearly 25 years as a student, teacher and consultant in this methodology.  I define Lean as “the passionate pursuit of the elimination of waste”, with waste coming in multiple forms including:  Transportation, Motion, Defects, and Overprocessing to name a few. 

The equation I derived for successful Lean transformation in Healthcare (or any industry for that matter!) looks like this:


PEOPLE – Studies have found that all people, including those at the front line of the organization, are critical assets and must be empowered to change inefficient work practices.

PROCESS – Dr. Ebert talked about ‘organizing resources, facilities and financing into a conceptual framework and operating system’.  The components required for success here are:

  1. Diagnosis – Determine the problem you are trying to solve
  2. Goals – Identify where you are and where you want to go and codify that ‘gap’ into specific measurable goals of improvement
  3. Intentional approach – Identify the area to get started through a selection process
  4. Implementation – Create an action plan based on the design and start making change!
  5. Standardization – Create a standard methodology that everyone can be trained to and waste can be identified and eliminated
  6. Do it again – Continuous improvement is a cycle.  There MUST be a healthy discontent for the status quo

TECHNOLOGY – After improving processes through engaging people in the changes, then organizations can augment the work with new technologies to automate, alarm, and predict where problems may occur in the future

LEADERSHIP – Everything rises and falls on Leadership.  Uncommon leadership MULTIPLIES the effect of the implementation of People, Process, and Technology.  Without it, the results will not be sustainable.  Leaders must:

  • Improve Continuously
  • Coach and Mentor
  • Hold themselves and others to a set of values and behaviors
  • Capture the Hearts and Minds of Employees

(People + Process + Technology) X Leadership = Level of Success

The equation really is that simple.  But, don’t mistake simple with easy.  Healthcare has a long way to go.  With leaders like the ones who read the Champions Brew, I am hopeful that we will transform it soon.

(NOTE: If you would be interested in having me discuss Lean Transformation in your organization, or know someone who is looking to move from Underperforming to Uncommon in their business or life, I would love to chat with you.  Click this link to set up a FREE CALL to discuss how Lean and/or coaching might benefit you and your team)

  • Read More – I have committed to reviewing one law per week from John Maxwell’s 25th anniversary edition of the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.  I really hope you are finding these helpful.  For me, going back through this read for the third time has been really enlightening.  This week’s law is:

Law # 16 – The Law of the Big Mo

Momentum is a Leader’s Best Friend

The score is 28-3 with 2:07 left in the third quarter.  Regardless of your allegiances, it may have been one of the biggest examples of “The Law of the Big Mo” in sports history – and on the biggest stage – The Super Bowl!  The comeback began with a James White touchdown at 9:06 p.m. ET. It was complete with Danny Amendola’s two-point conversion at 10:06 p.m. ET.

A 25-point lead was gone in exactly one hour.  You all probably know the rest of the story.  The Patriots win the coin toss in overtime, drive the ball down the field and complete the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.  THAT is the Law of the Big Mo.

Momentum is often seen in sports because the swings in momentum occur in the space of a few minutes right before our eyes.  One team gets on a roll and every play seems to work.  College basketball fans can hear Dick Vitale chanting, “Uncle MO, baby.  Better get a T-O!”  Momentum is important in leadership, too.  In this chapter, the story is detailed of the momentum that was created for Pixar with the success of the movie Toy Story.  Had that movie not created momentum for Pixar, they considered creating hardware for medical companies so they could store and read MRIs!  Then, no Toy Story 2 or any of the other 70+ films that have earned $14.7 million worldwide, not to mention brought so many smiles to movie-goers everywhere!

Here are a few things that you need to know about “Uncle Mo”:

  1. Momentum is the Great Exaggerator – Momentum is like a magnifying glass; it makes things look bigger than they really are
  2. Momentum helps followers perform better than they are – The 1980 US Olympic hockey team was the epitome of this observation.  They weren’t the best hockey players in the world, but they won a couple games against tough teams and the momentum carried them through the Miracle on Ice game against the Russians and on to the Gold Medal!
  3. Momentum is a powerful change agent – People like to follow a winning team.  Followers tend to trust leaders who have led them to victory
  4. Momentum is the Leader’s responsibility – Creating positive change is essential as a leader
  5. Momentum begins INSIDE the leader – If the leader truly believes in the vision and enthusiastically pursues in, then you will start making the small gains required to get the ball rolling to create momentum.
  • Quote

“We have been trying to apply continuous improvement science to healthcare for over thirty years.  The majority of healthcare practitioners, practices, hospitals and health systems which I am familiar would be offended if they were told they really didn’t follow the principles of continuous improvement, but they don’t, and neither does the government.” – Dr. Gene Lindsey, CEO Emeritus Atrius Health

What You Need to Do:

Call to Action:  Have you ever experienced the Law of the Big Mo?  If not, do you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I enthusiastically pursuing my calling?”  How can you move others if you can’t move yourself? 

I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of Champions Brew. If you did, I would appreciate it if you would share it with someone who might enjoy it as well and ask them to subscribe! I will make sure they automatically get this email every week.  Congratulations to Keith Miller.  He was the first to comment on the Champions Brew last week and I will be sending him a copy of Uncommon Leadership directly to his house!  Thanks, Keith, for being a loyal reader of the Champions Brew!!

Until next time, Love Always, Read More, and Grow Champions!

P.S. – Are you a podcast fan?  Maybe the Uncommon Leader podcast is for you.    Are you interested in being a guest on the Uncommon Leader Podcast?  Do you have a story to tell?  Email me [email protected] and let’s have a chat and set something up!!

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To become Champion leader, we have to be on a continuous improvement journey for ourselves and others.  We have to be able to take advantage of the precious seconds that we have each day.  
There are things that I come across each week that help me, inspire me, relax me, motivate me, and are sometimes are just funny that I want to share with you so that you can smile more, build faith, think positively, network well, exercise often, eat healthy, and grow daily.

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