Posted by: knightbird | February 1, 2012

Progress at Sealaska

I have outlined my efforts to spread Lean Thinking at Sealaska in previous blogs. 3 years ago, I managed to get Lean Implementation added to the Executive Compensation Plan. Last fall, executives from Sealaska visited Chugachmiut and by all accounts went away inspired by what could be achieved through a Lean Cultural Transformation. This week, I saw the results finally entering the C Suite. Talk is now revolving around the Lean Culture. The Executive Team dedicated 4 days to Lean Dialogue. One member of the administrative staff has a value stream map in her office, a lean training text on her desk and informed a board member about her desire to learn all she can about Lean so she can contribute to the improvement of the corporation.  I saw additional value maps in another conference room.

It’s now 2012. I started this discussion with the board and senior management in 2005. We have had the same Executive Team since 2005. I shudder to think what the outcome might have been had we switched leadership in that 7 year period of time.

In the meantime, I approached the President/CEO of the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Corporation (SEARHC), based in Juneau also, to talk about lean healthcare in 2007. He was kind enough to tell me that he and his team had talked it over, and that Lean Healthcare was not their culture. They rejected it out of hand. That President/CEO passed away shortly after that. So I gave it another try. In 2008 I engaged the new CEO with a 2-hour conversation about Lean Healthcare benefits. In late 2011, that CEO left without any Lean activity. A new CEO is coming on board soon, without any Lean Healthcare or CEO level experience. I figure at some time, I have to give up. I have talked to 3 Board Chair’s, 2 CEO’s and a number of board members and staff about Lean implementation and the benefits. It’s a shame because it’s my firm believe that $20 million in annual value can be freed up at SEARHC.

In the meantime, I am proud of the Executive Team at Sealaska and their embrace of the Lean culture. It gives me hope.

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