Lean Enterprise Institute Names Alice Lee Executive Director; Expands Research Programs

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As a vice president at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lee directed a lean healthcare transformation based on Toyota Production System principles and practices by engaging physicians and staff.

Alice’s deep, hands-on experience leading transformation level work in complex environments will augment LEI’s mission of helping companies and senior leaders in their own unique lean transformations.

The nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), a global leader in lean management thinking and practice, today announced that continuous improvement leader and coach Alice Lee has joined the company. Among other responsibilities, Lee will help LEI expand its applied research activities with Co-Learning Partner companies and universities in order to advance understanding of effective approaches to lean transformation.

Co-Learning Partners are a select group of companies from a variety of industries that have demonstrated executive commitment to lean transformations, an enthusiasm for collaborative learning where the work is actually done, and a willingness to share the results with the global lean community.

As executive director, strategy and administration, and a member of LEI’s executive team, Lee will:

  • Expand LEI’s collaboration on studies with university and other research communities.
  • Lead LEI’s long-range strategic planning and its administration, finance, and HR functions.
  • Develop educational content in traditional and new media.
  • Coach executives in creating continuous improvement cultures.

LEI CEO John Shook said, “Alice’s deep, hands-on experience leading transformation level work in complex environments will augment LEI’s mission of helping -- and learning how better to help – companies and senior leaders in their own unique lean transformations. She is well known as a talented and proven C-suite mentor, who understands how to set direction and vision, develop the roadmap for lean change, and mobilize all levels of management to execute. I am delighted to welcome her to the LEI team.”

Lee said, “I have long considered LEI to be the lean thought leader with practical, in-depth training, books, events, and web resources. It’s an exciting time to come on board as LEI expands its work reaching out to new audiences through new platforms, running collaborative experiments with companies and universities, and mentoring executives. LEI’s Lean Transformation Framework dovetails with my approach and belief that the key to enterprise transformation is transforming each leader as an individual because personal transformation is what causes lean thinking and actions to cascade through an organization. I’m thrilled to be working with the LEI team, which includes the most influential thought leaders in lean management.”

Holistic Problem Solving
Lee served as vice president and special assistant to the president, business transformation, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a major teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, from December 2004 to June 2014. During that time, she approached problems holistically, collaborating with senior leaders, doctors, nurses, and staff, to design care systems that flowed at the needs of patients. She led efforts that:

  • Taught, coached, and counseled physicians and administrative executives on applying lean principles, management behaviors, and tools to achieve enterprise transformation through the personal transformation of each leader.
  • Worked with the president and CEO on creating a transparent, learning culture.
  • Partnered with the medicine chief of service to embed lean principles and concepts into training the next generation of physicians through a nationally known Quality Improvement rotation program.
  • Teamed with the senior vice president of human resources to improve the talent selection process, saving more than $4 million through reduced turnover.
  • Collaborated with the chief nursing officer to create and deploy a 2,200 person department-wide lean daily management system to align work area goals and priorities with the organization’s operating plan and True North direction.

The continuous improvement effort at BIDMC was the subject of an article in the Boston Business Journal.

Lee is a strategic advisor to the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value, the Healthcare Delivery Institute at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and a faculty coach at the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University. She writes for The Lean Post, Planet Lean, the Lean Management Journal, and is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences on lean management and lean healthcare. She has taught lean management to executives and physicians at workshops in the U.S., Australia, and Egypt. Previously, Lee worked as a management consultant for Ernst & Young. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Science from Northeastern University.

About the Lean Enterprise Institute
Lean Enterprise Institute Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Cambridge, MA, makes things better through lean research, training, publishing, and events. Founded in 1997 by management expert James P. Womack, PhD, LEI supports other lean initiatives such as the Lean Global Network, the Lean Education Academic Network, and the Healthcare Value Network. Learn more about LEI at http://www.lean.org.

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Chet Marchwinski

Lean Enterprise Institute
since: 03/2009
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