Twas the Night Before a Lean Christmas

With my deepest apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, who penned this famous poem, I am re-posting this from one of my favorite blogs, Daily Kaizen. It’s pretty cute and besides, I didn’t think I could live with myself if “Bob’s Lean Learning” blog didn’t at least give a nod to the highly creative work accomplished by authors Rachel Hunt and Dr. Alan Fine, MD. 

Re-posted from Daily Kaizen


A Lean Christmas by Rachelle Hunt & Al Fine, MD

In the spirit of “edutainment,” and needing a little cheer in this often sad world, I am so excited to share this epic poem with you. It comes courtesy of Al Fine, MD, a board certified internal medicine doc practicing in primary care at Group Health.Each year Dr. Fine writes a thematic poem for his clinic’s holiday party. Enjoy.

A Lean Christmas

T’was the night before Christmas, and down on The Gemba

Group Health is Leaner than we ever rememba

Our leaders are nestled all snug in their beds

While visions of Standard Work dance through their heads

Dyad partner and I Huddle daily to Fish

Continuous Improvement our big holiday wish.

We’d just settled our brains for some real A3 Thinking


From an RPIW there arose such a clatter

(We wish they’d produce more ideas and less chatter)

We flew like a flash to the latest Report-0ut

To see what new work we’d now have to sort out

What to our wondering eyes did appear

But a Pacesetting Sensei—without one reindeer!

Our Sensei was ever so lively and quick

But he surely was nothing like good old St. Nick

He made us feel Leaner than ever before

He whistled and shouted Lean teachings galore:

“Now Kaizen, now Kanban

Now Value Stream Mapping

On Muda and Mura

And Minimal Staffing!”

To the top of the Hedis score GHP will be shining

Our Dashboard tachometers will all be red-lining!

And then in a twinkling (even faster than that)

Down the chimney our Sensei came with a Splat!

He was dressed all in saffron from his cowel to his sandels

He leaned on a cane of Toyotabrake handles

A bundle of Lean tools was flung on his back

An Air Traffic Controller and Lean maniac!

His 5-Whys—how they sparkled! His A3—how downtown!

His 5S was 3 Actuals walking fast from a Burndown!

He had a Lean face and a sunken in belly

When he laughed nothing shook like a bowlful of jelly

He was, nonetheless, a right jolly old fox

As Level as any Heijunka Box

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work

And pulled on that ol’ Andon Cord with a jerk!

Outcome Measured Production then ground to a halt

That cord-pulling Sensei was sure worth his salt

Then, laying his finger aside of his nose

It was Just in Time—up the chimney he rose

And I heard him exclaim as he Process Walked out of sight

“Our Fat Years** are over—the Lean start tonight!”

Copyright Alan Fine, MD, 2010

All rights reserved.

**Genesis 41: 27


Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Bob H

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