Q&A With Worlds First Lean Comedian Dr. Les Muda


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Q&A With Worlds First Lean Comedian Dr. Les Muda

  1. 1. Q&A With Worlds First Lean Comedian, Dr. Les Muda Pad Thai diagrams and sustainable laughter with the worlds first Lean comedian? Here in a PEX Network exclusive interview, Dr. Les Muda shares the secrets of Just-in-Time comedy, the impossibility of error-proofing jokes, and why he thinks his Lean comedy routine will get the last laugh.PEX Network: What’s your background – how did you get into healthcare, Leanand comedy?Dr. Les Muda: I am a surgeon first and a comedian second. I am an orthopedic surgeonand I am in the operating room a few mornings a week. I spend my evenings in thecomedy clubs. My first big break was being able to introduce the famed comedian BillMuri, of Caddyshack fame.I graduated in the top 10% of my class at the Hartford School of Medicine. The best thingabout the school is that people often think you said “Harvard.” I performed my surgicalresidency in Wounded Knee, South Dakota.PEX Network: Is there something inherently funny about Lean?Dr. Les Muda: Lean is pretty deadly serious business: trying to improve patient care(and some might say trying not to kill anybody) plus trying to do it as efficiently aspossible to get home on time to my family at the end of the day. So comedy is a goodoutlet to blow off steam and stay sane. Please, no comments on my sanity. The word“kaikaku” (meaning “radical change”) is an inherently funny word. Say it out loud.Hilarious!PEX Network: Can you give us an example of a Lean joke?Dr. Les Muda: Here are two jokes for you. Have you done any spaghetti diagrams tohelp identify waste? I like to refer to these as “pad thai diagrams” because I’m not alwaysin the mood for Italian food.Speaking of food, Dr. Deming liked to say “there is no instant pudding!” What sort oflousy grocery store did he shop in? It clearly wasn’t a Tesco with their incredibly effectiveLean supply chains!PEX Network: It’s often said that “timing is everything” in comedy. How does“just-in-time” affect comedic delivery?Dr. Les Muda: Comedy is all about delivering the right joke to the right place at the righttime. For example, I try to get more laughs in the comedy club than I do in the operatingroom. We can apply all sorts of Lean concepts and examples of waste. For example, Iwas praised in a review of my comedy club routine for not “overproducing” laughs.PEX Network: How have others in the Lean community reacted to your jokes?Dr. Les Muda: A lot of people dismiss my comedy, because they think I’m just like theWorld’s First Total Quality Management (TQM) Comedian. They have already heard hisjokes and he wasn’t very funny, so people are fearful of the “comedian of the month”
  2. 2. syndrome. I mean, my jokes are basically the same as the TQM Comedian, but mylaughs are more sustainable because of the approach I take.I am far funnier than the World’s First Six Sigma Comedian. Actually, he hasn’t gottenany gigs yet because he still needs to use a few more statistical tools before he gets hiscomedy Black Belt. I don’t have a belt, and I don’t need one, because my surgical scrubshave a draw string!PEX Network: Do you use Lean techniques to help you prepare for a stand up gig?If so, what techniques do you find most useful?Dr. Les Muda: I try to use the voice of the customer in preparing for my routines, butmostly that voice says “stop, get off the stage.” But, as Henry Ford and Steve Jobs said,the customer doesn’t always know what they want.I also try hard not to batch up my joke writing. Jokes come to me in small batches and Istore them in a little humor “supermarket” that I come back to when putting together oneof my routines.I really wish I could learn how to error proof a joke to ensure that it is always going to befunny. When a joke doesn’t get laughs, that’s not a failure – it’s an opportunity toimprove. PDCA!Thanks to my study of Dr. W. Edwards Deming, I have learned 94% of my bad jokesaren’t my fault... it’s the system. Comedy starts at the top – and my CEO isn’t veryfunny...PEX Network: Finally, I understand that you were in discussion with some of themajor American TV networks about launching two new programs – “So you thinkyou can operate?” and “Hospital Nightmares”. How advanced are the talks? Canwe expect to see these shows coming soon to a screen near us?Dr. Les Muda: I’m a bit discouraged about this at the moment. I contacted GordonRamsey about doing Hospital Nightmares together and he just screamed and cursed atme. Not surprising. I also contacted Simon Cowell and he said, “No, absolutely not.That’s dreadful,” but he was generally positive about the show concept. He said hispeople will call. Talk about the waste of waiting! My pager will go off eventually, I believe.Les Muda I invite you to join as a member of the PEX Network Group http://tinyurl.com/3hwakem, you will have access to Key Leaders Globally, Events, Webinars, Presentations, Articles, Case Studies, Blog Discussions, White Papers, and Tools and Templates. To access this free content please take 2 minutes for a 1 time FREE registration at http://tiny.cc/tpkd0PEX Network, a division of IQPC, facilitates access to a wealth of relevant content forProcess Excellence, Lean, and Six Sigma practitioners. Further enhanced with an onlinecommunity of your peers, we will provide you with the tools and resources to help youperform more effective and efficiently, while enhancing the quality operations within yourorganization. As our industry becomes more and more dependent on the Web forinformation, PEXNetwork.com has been developed to provide Six Sigma professionals
  3. 3. with instant access to information. Leveraging our strength and foundation in education,IQPC and the Process Excellence Network are uniquely positioned to provide acomprehensive library of webcasts gathered from our events, as well as exclusivecontent from leaders in the industry.