Welcome to our interview with Dr. John Toussaint. John is the CEO of Catalysis and is one of the foremost figures in the adoption of lean principles in healthcare.
Dr. Toussaint has written three books all of which have received the prestigious Shingo Research and Publication Award. His groundbreaking first book, On the Mend: Revolutionizing Healthcare to Save Lives and Transform the Industry reveals how healthcare can be fundamentally improved at the point of delivery using the proven principles of lean management. His second book, Potent Medicine: The Collaborative Cure for Healthcare, describes the three core elements necessary to transform healthcare and deliver better value; delivery of care designed around the patient; transparency of treatment quality and cost; and payment for outcomes. His third book, Management on the Mend: The Executive Guide to System Transformation is a study of eleven organizations and the successful attempts to apply lean principles in healthcare.
Welcome John, and thank you for contributing to the questions that are at the heart of Exploring Forward Thinking Workplaces 2.0.
How can we create workplaces where every voice matters, everyone thrives & finds meaning, and change & innovation happen naturally?
John Toussaint: I think it’s a combination of things. I always go back to John Shook, CEO of the Lean Enterprise Institute’s description of how we truly get to excellence, which is it’s about processes, and it’s about people. We have to equally recognize that we need to have an environment in which people are allowed to do work that gives their life meaning, so that’s the people part. The leader’s role is to make sure that the people that work in the organization are allowed to do work that gives their life meaning.The leader’s role is to make sure that the people that work in the organization are allowed to do work that gives their life meaning.
But then we also have to have systems or processes. I like to call them systems in which people can thrive. If there aren’t any systems (or processes) that are standardized and reproducible every day, then people end up doing a lot of non-value added work. If they’re doing non-value added work, this then gets back to this point of they’re not necessarily doing work that gives their life meaning.I think it’s a combination of these concepts of building systems that allow people to do work that gives their life meaning, and the leader’s role is to make sure that there’s a balance between these two activities.