The Edges of Lean — Ep 115 Learning from Mistakes with Mark Graban


I wish I was perfect! Wouldn’t it be great to simply not make any mistakes? In the practice of Lean, we try to mistake-proof our processes and build on our previous learnings to prevent mistakes. And yet, we know that we learn so much from mistakes, and Mark Graban has been exploring with different people how they have benefited from their mistakes. He joined me at the Edges of Lean to share his insight on what he has learned from those conversations and his new book, “The Mistakes that Make Us.”


Mark Graban    


Mark Graban is an internationally recognized consultant, author, speaker, and entrepreneur with expertise in Lean management, continuous improvement, and people-centered leadership. He has authored several books and hosts the My Favorite Mistake podcast. His work spans various industries, such as improving customer or patient experience, developing leaders and employees, and building more adaptive organizations. He emphasizes the importance of psychological safety, problem-solving, and employee engagement. 




00:02:31 The mistakes that make us.

00:06:12 The mistakes and their consequences.

00:12:02 The systemic problems and workplace culture.

00:14:58 Healthcare culture and nurses.

00:21:38 Creating a culture of learning from mistakes.

00:24:17 Internal barriers and privilege.

00:29:08 Cultivating a culture of learning and innovation.

00:35:13 ADHD diagnosis and treatment.

00:37:18 The causes of anxiety and ADHD.

00:47:04 The mistakes and learning from them.




  • Learning from mistakes is an essential part of personal and professional growth.
  • Mistake-proofing processes are the keys principle in Lean methodology, but mistakes still happen.
  • Fear and futility are two main reasons employees choose not to speak up about mistakes in the workplace. 
  • Leaders play a significant role in shaping the culture of an organization. 
  • Mistake-proofing is particularly important in healthcare to protect patients from harm and prevent frontline workers from being blamed for systemic mistakes.
  • Culture exists whether it is intentionally accepted or not. 
  • Individuals may face different barriers to admitting mistakes, such as societal expectations, privilege, or past experiences.
  • Lean practices can provide structure and support for individuals with ADHD or similar challenges, as they offer tools and methods for focusing attention and prioritizing tasks.

Memorable Quotes From  Mark Graban 


“When leaders are able to lead by example, modeling those behaviors, that opens the door for their employees to follow their lead. And then when that gets rewarded by leaders instead of being punished, now you start getting into more that virtuous cycle of strengthening building and sustaining that culture.” 


CONNECT WITH  Mark Graban 




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