Lean Blog Interviews — Revisiting #124: Paul O’Neill on Habitual Excellence and Safety

Former CEO of Alcoa, U.S. Treasury Secretary

Originally released as Episode #124 in July, 2011

Show notes: https://www.leanblog.org/124

Today’s episode is a bit different than our usual interviews and conversations. Today, I am republishing an interview that Mark Graban did in 2011 with the late Paul O’Neill Sr., the former non-executive chair for the firm Value Capture. He was, of course, so much more than that, (CEO of Alcoa, United States Treasury Secretary, and more), as you’ll hear in this interview that originally appeared as Episode 124.

In summary, Mr. O’Neill talked about:

  • Leadership mindsets required for dramatic workplace safety and patient safety improvement, including a near 100% reduction in hospital-acquired infections at Pittsburgh’s Allegheny General Hospital
  • Why the United States has accomplished “practically nothing” nationally since the famed 1999 Institute of Medicine report “To Err Is Human”
  • Why society’s most lacking skill is “leadership”
  • Alternative ways of compensating patients who are harmed by the healthcare system while ensuring real improvements are made by learning from each problem
  • Why leaders in Washington D.C., at the time, should have shifted from “financial engineering” to visiting ThedaCare to learn about “the real way” we should improve health care.

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