Beyond the Lean Revolution

Deborah J. Nightingale and Jayakanth Srinivasan, Amacom, 2011, 270 pp., $34.95 (book).

This book’s basic premise is that enterprise transformation—the valuable, sustainable change we all seek—does not happen with just lean transformation. It is sustained with a more holistic approach to the entire organization.

This book consists of 12 chapters broken into three sections: strategic overview, planning and execution. It also contains two appendixes.

Chapter two discusses the seven principles of transformation: holistic approach, leadership commitment, stakeholders and their value propositions, effectiveness prior to efficiency, interdependencies, stability and flow, and organizational learning. This forms the structure of the book.

The second part of the book looks through various lenses to develop a transformation plan. The lenses are defined and discussed as leadership, stakeholders, process, performance measurements and integrative.

Chapters nine to 11 cover planning and executing the transformation. Chapter 12 reviews a company’s steps in a transformation and provides some real-life situations with play-by-play analysis. Each chapter lists key takeaways.

The book has a good message in that organizational change has many aspects and requires not only understanding and management commitment, but a clear vision of the current state plus the future desired state.

I would recommend this book to all managers who are contemplating change in their organizations. Executives will be impressed with the planning outline and details of execution required to be successful.

Bill Baker
Speed to Excellence
Santa Fe, NM

The Power of LEO

Subir Chowdhury, McGraw-Hill, 2011, 256 pp., $28 (book).

This book pulls you in and you’ll be unable to put it down. The script is woven through real-life stories articulating how the author’s proposed method—LEO—has been used successfully in a wide range of problems and industries. Chowdhury does away with the complexity and focuses on the critical elements, the simplicity of LEO:

  • Listen: observe and understand.
  • Enrich: explore and discover.
  • Optimize: improve and perfect.

After you finish, you are left feeling like you want to dive right in and get started. You want everyone you work with to feel that motivation for quality.

The author focuses on mindset and action, on considering exactly who and what the organization is, how it functions and what it needs. This is about having everyone participate.

To achieve this, the author presents the four cornerstones:

  • Quality is my responsibility.
  • All the people, all the time.
  • I-can-do-it mindset.
  • No one size fits all.

The beauty of the book is that the concepts can be easily understood and implemented by anyone and the principles adapted to the level of complexity of the situation.

Chowdhury is open to all quality tools relevant for each step of LEO; therefore, this is an inclusive approach. This book can reinvigorate the experienced manager, but it is also a wonderful book for those being introduced to quality.

Denis Leonard
Business Excellence Consulting
Bozeman, MT

Safer Hospital Care

Dev Raheja, Productivity Press, 2011, 200 pp., $59.95 (book).

This book’s premise is that a sustainable positive change in patient safety can be accomplished through a paradigm shift in which continuous innovation needs to be the primary focus rather than continuous improvement.

The book is organized into 14 chapters and an appendix. In the first chapter, the author lays the groundwork by defining what is considered unsafe care. In chapter two, the author uses the ancient proverb, "If you know that you don’t know, then you know," to inform readers of how wrong practices in healthcare institutions are due to an insufficient understanding of healthcare systems vulnerability. The author concludes this chapter by stating that "the best way to start doing right things is to stop doing wrong things."

In the last chapter of the book, the author discusses the philosophy of "Aequanimitas," pioneered by William Osler, M.D., and its role in improved patient care, which essentially conveys the following message to the caregivers: "The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head." The message for readers is that caregivers who follow this philosophy and work in healthcare institutions that use innovation tools are major contributors to a safer healthcare system.

Each chapter in the book includes numerous references containing valuable and useful supporting information on the related topics covered. The author shares the knowledge he secured during 30 years as a risk management and quality assurance consultant in the nuclear and aerospace industries to provide readers with a list of evidence-based safety theories and tools that make the book worth considering.

Herzl Marouni
ABS Consulting

Statistical Methods for Quality Improvement

Thomas Ryan, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2011, 704 pp., $125 (3rd edition, book).

Ryan covers everything you could possibly imagine in a statistical methods book without getting into application of actual quality assurance or quality control techniques. The book is restricted to statistics and their use to determine normal from abnormal variation, not what to do with the results afterward. There is a brief chapter on basic quality tools to provide simple implementation guidance.

Each chapter contains derivations of formulas, suggestions on when to use each chart, effects of measurement error, graphical methods, brief examples with illustrations, tables and charts demonstrating the technique under consideration, and a chapter summary.

Where necessary, assumptions are clearly stated in the specific statistical application, comparisons of results using alternative techniques are made, and a discussion of robustness of results is incorporated. Each chapter includes additional references for further information and exercises with answers to a few of the questions.

Economy of control charts and measurement, users’ administrative use of control charts, combinations of tools, and design of experiments round out the topic treatment. The index is detailed, if something specific is needed.

The only dissatisfaction I had with the book is that not all of the exercises had answers, and there was no explanation of how to get to the answers. Those with more advanced statistical experience will get the most from this book, although the reading level is suitable for the average user. This is an excellent reference for any of your quality improvement statistical needs.

Marc A. Feldman
Solvay Chemicals

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