Grace Bourke's Blog

  • Weathering change

    It was not going as I had expected. The temperature dropped and a breeze started up, heralding a shift in the weather. Whisked away in the wind was my vision of a leisurely walk on the beach in the warmth of the sunny afternoon. Instead, there were clouds and a chance of rain. I felt unprepared, disappointed, and cheated.

  • Rules of the road

    Recently, caught in a winter snowstorm, I had to drive extremely slowly down the middle of the road in the tracks made by previous cars. I realized that driving rules were significantly suspended in this situation. This reminded me of when a sensei told me about the concept of “rules of the road.”

  • Constructive dissatisfaction

  • The New Johari Window—a tool for understanding what we know and practice, and what we don’t!

    When I first saw the New Johari Window (shown above) I thought, “Oh, that’s busy. I wonder what it all means?” Learning what it meant made a big difference in my work.

  • Waste

    In the lean philosophy, any work that doesn’t add value is waste. Waste should be eliminated. That’s not a value judgment on the people doing the work. People shouldn’t have to endure wastes like awkward movements of bending and twisting, looking for supplies or information, clicking too many times when using software, or rushing to prepare a report with bad information that will have to be reworked later. People feel these wastes, and they are ready for better. In my opinion, waste contributes to burnout.

  • Value

    In lean (Toyota Production System), value is defined by the customer. To be considered value adding, an activity must meet a high standard: Does it change the form, fit, or function toward customer needs or wants, and is it done correctly the first time (rework is never value adding)? In healthcare, we’ve also added “feeling,” as a patient moves from concerned to reassured. An equivalent question is: Would the customer pay for this activity? 1

  • Respect

    Working with an improvement team that displayed deep cultural commitment to respect got me curious about “respect.” What is a culture of respect? I saw the usual habits of respect: leave titles at the door, no interrupting, no blaming. This team had something more. Here are a few examples:

  • Beyond workplace heroics

     The world appreciates heroes--they achieve the extraordinary! Workplace examples include the programmer who comes in at 8:00 am after working until 4:00 am installing the latest software version; the nurse who pulls a double shift; the lab scientist who repairs machinery on the weekend, and the administrator who makes the eighth round of revisions to the board report. 

  • Wait…don’t tell me

    This crossing sign visualizes the concept of pausing before moving forward together, just like the request to “wait…don’t tell me.” I experienced this pausing before moving forward when helping a 9-year old with her third grade reading homework. She was struggling and asked me to tell her the words she didn’t know.

  • Kitting reduces setup time