Lean Whiskey: 13: Don’t Drink Pacific Northwest Whiskeys While Standing in Ohno’s Circle


In Episode 13 of Lean Whiskey, Mark Graban and Jamie Flinchbaugh reconnect in their first joint episode this year, after a couple weeks of guest hosts. Our last episode together was filled with Grinches, gremlins, and glitches, so it was nice to both be in a proper recording location and be able to focus on the conversation and the whiskey. 

Our whiskey selections were on the theme of the Pacific Northwest, a growing region for whiskey. Mark’s Westland American Single Malt Whiskey really specializes in using Oregon ingredients, including 5 different malts. Jamie’s McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Pot Distilled Whiskey seeks a more Scotch-like style, with importing both barley and peat from Scotland. 

Our “In the News” segment was more like “From the Archives,” as we pulled out an article from 2002 from AME Target Magazine titled Ohno’s Method: Creating a survival work culture by Jinichiro Nakane and Robert W. (“Doc”) Hall.

This article is filled with nuggets that deserves a thorough read, as it explores the work of Taiichi Ohno, often referred to as the father of the Toyota Production System. We explore lean as a culture, whether a survival culture is necessary, how much lean depends (or not) on the country’s culture, and how fundamentally Ohno created a coaching environment to bring both empowerment and enthusiasm to the workplace. 

We take a listener question on how to organize front-line supervision, as this topic connects quite directly to the issues discussed in the Ohno article. We close the episode with another fun question in the “get to know us” category, where we explore career paths not taken.