July 26th, 2014 by John Gallagher No Comments


In this episode of ‘Timeout’ (a Podcast devoted to our passion for coaching in youth sports), Michael and I talk about 5 Ways to get back on track.  Originally, we had set a goal to do one podcast per month, but we had not accomplished it.  Our intentions were good.  It is easy to get off track.  The question is, “How do we get back on track?”  It was a fun discussion.  Hope you enjoy!


Character Counts – 2014 edition

July 8th, 2014 by John Gallagher No Comments



Back in 2008, I posted a blog titled Character Counts after watching an epic battle at Wimbledon between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.  Fast forward to 2014.  I truly enjoyed watching another epic tennis match between the aforementioned Federer and Novak Djokovic.  Again, the match didn’t disappoint.  Federer saving match point in the 4th set and rallying to force a fifth set.  Djokovic dominated his service game not being broken until the 4th set.  The numbers for the match were incredibly close.  There were 366 total points played.  Finaly tally was Djokovic 186, Federer 180.

But, it was their display of Character that caught my attention and keeps my attention in the majors:

  • No taunting or trash talking by either player
  • No berating of the officials
  • They treated each other and the grounds crew with respect

federer djokovic 2014 wimbledon

The end told me more, though.  After the match at trophy presentation:

“I dedicate this to my future wife and our future baby. I’m going to be a father soon. It’s a great joy of life. And last but not least to my first coach, who taught me all the basics of tennis, how to behave and everything I know about tennis, Jelena Gencic.”

– Djokovic dedicates win to fiancee Jelena Ristic and his first coach who passed away last year.

“I felt the love out here, so thanks a lot. See you next year.”

– Federer, who will be 33 next year, vows to be back in 2015.

The rest of the sports world can learn a lot from these 2 class acts.  Can’t wait to see what 2015 brings!

What is the greatest exhibition of good Character in sports that you have observed?  Do you think displays like this have an impact on our youth?


April 10th, 2014 by John Gallagher 1 Comment



In this episode of ‘Timeout’ (a Podcast devoted to our passion for coaching in youth sports), Michael and I talk about our “Top 3 Foul shooters of all time” and some of the drills those shooters employ.  It’s a discussion about who WE would want on the foul line in crunch time.   We also talk about our top moments from the recent NCAA tournament, and discuss the state of NASCAR (after I gloat in picking Dale Jr as the Daytona 500 winner.  Hope you enjoy.


After listening, we hope you will engage in the conversation.  Here are two questions for discussion:

1) Who would YOUR top 3 free throw shooters be?

2) If you have an undefeated team at the end of their regular season and prior to moving into tournaments, do you feel it would be better to LOSE a game to relieve the pressure?  Why or why not? We will discuss this in our next Podcast.

Thanks for listening.


April 6th, 2014 by John Gallagher 2 Comments



The three most important ladies in my life… my wife, my mother, and my mother-in-law… have spiritual gifts.  Leaders have spiritual gifts.  Therefore, the ladies in my life are leaders.  (My son told me that, in logical terms,  is a ‘valid statement’ (IAI2)).  Here is a picture of them with a few other fantastic ladies.

ladies in lifeFrom left to right: My mother-in-law, Nancye.  Her Mom, Madge.  My mom, Vickey,  our friend-Mandy Ball, my lovely wife, Chris, and my favorite sister-in-law, Lisa!

Now, I believe that my wife, mother, and mother-in-law have the gift of hospitality, but more importantly, they have the ability to take some ordinary moment and turn it into an EXTRA-ordinary experience!  What do I mean?

Recently, we had friends over to the house for a barbecue.  Of course, I would have put out the regular condiments like the ones below:

ordinaryThat really is all you need, right?  Relish, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup.   But, my wife took the time to transfer all of the condiments into different containers to make the experience go from ordinary bottles, to extra-ordinary presentation:

extraordinaryThe containers were a gift from my mother.  My mother-in-law is famous for little presentation ideas like this.  It is amazing how she can present grape jelly!!  Call me crazy, but I think the condiments actually TASTED better from these containers.  You see, these ladies have an ability to take something ordinary like ketchup and mustard and present it in a special, extraordinary way.  Why?  Because they want to do extra work?  NO!!!!  It is because they CARE about others and want to make an ordinary burger and dog taste like an extra-ordinary experience from a 5-star restaurant!  Our friends referred to the ketchup as ‘special’, and to the store-brand yellow mustard as ‘grey poupon’.  Frankly, I have not honored these women enough for their EXTRA-ordinary love.

I believe their ability to turn ordinary into extra-ordinary has been a gift to me as a husband, son, son-in-law, AND leader.  I hope that I am able to create extra-ordinary moments for others like they often do for me, my family, and friends.

So, I have a couple questions for the Leaders who follow my blog:

1) When was the last time you turned an ordinary experience into an extra-ordinary moment for those you lead?  

2)  When was the last time you let a special person in your life know you appreciate their ability to do that for you?

Thank you, Chris.  Thank you, Mom.  Thank you, Mrs. White… for caring enough to create extra-ordinary moments for me and others.  I love you all.




Lean Donut Maker?

March 16th, 2014 by John Gallagher No Comments



It’s the lean geek in me.  I was able to attend the Duke UNC Lacrosse game recently and at the game, there was a vendor selling “mini-donuts” – Man, they smelled good!  Had to check it out.  What a great surprise when I also got to see the donut making in action:

Having trouble watching the embedded video, click the link below:

Lean Donut Maker

My mind went to the Lean concepts I was seeing… It is just how I am wired:

1) 16 pieces of SWIP – 8 cooking on each side

2) Raw material in small funnel dropping at cycle time

3) Finished donuts… Looked like about 3 sold units (I think we got 8 mini-donuts in our bag.  $6 or $0.75/donut seemed a little high)

4) So, do you think they adjust the machine based on demand?  Probably not.  We were there early enough, but the line at halftime was about 40 people long!!

Oh, and they tasted really good!  I only got one.  My son was not a very good sharer!

To my Lean geek cohorts: After learning the tools, do you find yourself constantly evaluating these types of things from a Lean standpoint?  What Lean observations outisde of ‘work’ would you share?



February 23rd, 2014 by John Gallagher 1 Comment



In this episode of ‘Timeout’ (a Podcast devoted to our passion for coaching in youth sports), Michael and I talk about our “Mount Rushmore” of coaches(with all of the recent Mount Rushmore banter between Bill Russell and LeBron, we thought we would get in on the banter!).  What coaches, regardless of sport, would we put on our Mount Rushmore?  We also talk about our top personal moments in sports.  Hope you enjoy.

mount rushmore

After listening, we encourage you to engage in the conversation.  Let us know the answer to this question:

Who would you put on YOUR Mount Rushmore of coaches?



January 28th, 2014 by John Gallagher No Comments



Over the holidays, I completed The Lean Turnaround – How Business Leaders Use Lean Principles to Create Value and Transform Their Company.  For the most part, it was a refresher for me in terms of Lean implementation as I have been directly involved in Lean transformation for the better part of 15+ years.  But, it was a refreshing refresher!

lean turnaround

There were lots of stories from the author’s Lean journey that resonated back to my days in manufacturing, as well as reiterated some of the things I currently work to communicate to leaders in Healthcare as a consultant for a Lean Transformation organization.  Things like: “Shifting from a tradtional to a Lean strategy is simple and straightforward.  The problem is that it is hard to do.”  So true.  Often, leaders are looking for that silver bullet to transform that organization… you know the one… it’s the magic pill that will help us to lose 35 pounds without exercising and being able to eat all that we want.  That’s right.  The silver bullet doesnt’t exist.  A Lean transformation is a multi-year effort.  The principles of a Lean transformation are fundamental:  Work to Takt time, One-piece flow, Standard work, Connect the customer to the work.  I especially liked the author’s experiences as I was familiar or knew some of the consultants he had worked with in the past.

Where I became intrigued and where my belief lies, though, was the last chapter.  “All companies, whether manufacturing or nonmanufacturing, are alike.  They are all composed of processes that, taken together, allow them to do what they do as a business.  In fact, even processes such as hiring, ordering, accounting, invoicing, and similar functions, are common to both types.”

This belief is what continues to drive me in Healthcare.  Clearly, the resistance is much higher in this environment, especially to the thought of standard work.  Associates consider themselves “experts” in their field, and I just don’t understand.  I mean how would I, right?

“John, you aren’t a doctor.  You don’t understand what is needed for me to do my work.” or… “John, we aren’t building cars or widgets.  We are treating people and they are all different.”  To an extent, I agree with both of those statements, AND… know that despite that, all companies are composed of processes full of waste that make their jobs harder, and make their customer (patient) experience difficult, at best.  As a patient, when was the last time you went to any doctor’s office and had your appointment start on time and the time the provider spent with you was greater than the time you spent sitting around waiting for something to happen?  Ask my son who just sat with me as he waited 40 minutes past the scheduled start time of his recent orthodontist appointment how good of an experience that was..

Well, I went away from the book review…,  but these thoughts are what the book triggered in me.  Lean transformation works in any industry.  I love doing what I do to teach that so that I can help our clients achieve their goals and somehow help our US Healthcare industry realize how messed up it really is.  Don’t even get me started on variation in how they provide care… That’s another book!  For now, I highly suggest The Lean Turnaround as a primer to Lean practitioner’s.  It was a thought-provoking read.

What industry do you know that would NOT benefit from a transformation of the wasteful processes currently in place?