30 episodes

Mark Graban and Jamie Flinchbaugh are two guys with a lot in common: Lean, writing books, speaking, consulting... and a love of good whiskey. Like the Car Talk guys, they both went to MIT... but Lean isn't rocket science. Let's hope they can hold their liquor, because they're not holding back on sharing their opinions... it's time for Lean Whiskey... Lean talk with a fun spirit!

Lean Whiskey Mark Graban & Jamie Flinchbaugh

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 9 Ratings

Mark Graban and Jamie Flinchbaugh are two guys with a lot in common: Lean, writing books, speaking, consulting... and a love of good whiskey. Like the Car Talk guys, they both went to MIT... but Lean isn't rocket science. Let's hope they can hold their liquor, because they're not holding back on sharing their opinions... it's time for Lean Whiskey... Lean talk with a fun spirit!

    Yellow Cards, Coffee Cocktails, and a Smashed Barrel

    Yellow Cards, Coffee Cocktails, and a Smashed Barrel

    Show notes: https://www.leanblog.org/whiskey29

    In Episode 29, it's been a little while since Mark and Jamie got together for Lean Whiskey. We catch up on what's new, which includes Mark's new certification with distinction with the WSET Level 2 Spirits certification, and Jamie's new side-hustle as a soccer referee.

    We return to making cocktails, this time building on our coffee theme from the pour-over edition of Episode 27. We both make coffee cocktails. Jamie's is a whiskey espresso martini, equal parts bourbon, Kahlua, and freshly pulled espresso, shaken and served in a martini glass. Mark worked his way towards his own concoction, based on the Revolver cocktail, using bourbon and coffee liqueur, but he used a couple Texas-based brands and named it the Texas Revolver. We both follow our cocktails with some Glenn's Creek Cafe Ole and discuss Mark's lost barrel of bourbon. 

    We did "In the News" with a twist, building on our coffee theme we used something close to the Lean Coffee format and covered many news stories for 5 minutes each. These stories covered Starbucks as a talent pool, CEO pay and diversity, wage inflation, what work really needs to be in-person, people leaving the restaurant industry, and using lean to help get jabs in arms. There was no theme here, just two guys sitting around talking about the news from a lean thinker's perspective. Scroll down for links galore.

    After covering a lot of ground, Mark and Jamie look forward to the fall, including football. We hope you enjoy this episode. Please send Mark or Jamie questions, suggestions, or comments for our future discussions. Until next time, cheers! 

    Links From the Show
    Mark's WSET Level 2 Spirits certification 

    Jamie's retirement from coaching announcement and kickoff of a referee side-hustle 

    Lean Coffee episode of Lean Whiskey, Episode #27

    Jamie's new ECM Casa V espresso machine 

    Jamie's Town Branch bourbon used for the espresso martini

    Jamie's Buzzopolis espresso blend from Whole Latte Love

    The base Revolver recipe that Mark started with 

    Mark's "Texas Revolver" included 2 oz Garrison Brothers Hye Rye Bourbon, 0.5 oz Caffe del Fuego Reserve, 3 dashes orange bitters, 0.25 oz Dry Curacao, and 3 dashes coffee bitters

    We both finished with David Meier's Cafe Ole

    Mark's My Favorite Mistake episode with David Meier

    The Lean Coffee method we somewhat followed 

    In the News
    News item #1: More U.S. companies tie CEO pay to diversity metrics

    News item #2: Wage Growth Among U.S. Job Switchers Increased 5.8 Percent Since June 2020 as Businesses Struggle to Attract Workers

    News item #3: Starbucks Is the New Talent Factory Powering Corporate America

    News item #4: When Do We Actually Need to Meet in Person?

    News item #5: How Lean Thinking and Practice Helped Put Shots in Arms, Part 1: Building the Process and Part 2: Wind-down and Reflection

    News item #6: Restaurants Will Never Be the Same. They Shouldn't Be.

    Our college football schedules for tailgating at Lehigh and Northwestern


    • 1 hr 33 min
    Mistakes Make us Better (and Sometimes Make Whiskey Necessary?)

    Mistakes Make us Better (and Sometimes Make Whiskey Necessary?)

    Show notes: https://www.leanblog.org/whiskey28

    In Episode 28, Mark and Jamie begin by having our spouses pour mystery whiskeys for us. We don’t know what they are when we start drinking them. Mark’s wife at least joins him occasionally in a dram, but Jamie’s wife is truly pouring without experience, but he’s safe since it is from his own shelf. Mark and Jamie give their best guess, so listen and see if they get it right (or at least partially correct). 

    Jamie and Mark then build on Mark’s highly successful, and prolific, podcast My Favorite Mistake. We talk about the podcast, its neat origin story, and then we dive into a couple of our own favorite mistakes, although without the systematic breakdown he includes in his podcast. We explore the whole point of examining our favorite mistakes.  Along the way we cover old label designs and baseball and sushi. 


    Mark celebrated his 10 year anniversary as part of the KaiNexus team

    Mark’s mystery pour, Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Duncansby Head Lighthouse and his 2nd pour from Teeling

    Jamie’s mystery pour from 10 year old Whistle Pig rye and his second pour, a 10-year-old Jura scotch

    Mark’s My Favorite Mistake podcast

    Episodes that were lean-related, including Karyn Ross, Billy Taylor, and Karen Martin

    Whiskey-related episode about Garrison Brothers

    The favorite mistake story behind Angostura bitters’ label

    Redemption Whiskey and Tyler’s Mistake  

    Chicago Cubs baserunning mistake that wasn’t

    Food: uni and poutine, just not together

    • 1 hr 35 min
    Lean Coffee: Pour Over Edition With Inventory / Supply Chain Talk

    Lean Coffee: Pour Over Edition With Inventory / Supply Chain Talk


    In Episode 27, Mark and Jamie switch things up a bit with a morning recording of the show. While we could have just started our whiskey early, instead we decided to switch to a beverage that shares much of the same culture, craft, and appreciation as whiskey, and that is coffee.

    Although a bit of throwback in terms of usages, the trend towards pour over coffee embraces the culture of single origin coffee, much like the shift from whiskey blends towards more single casks. The pour over method is meant to extract more of the “good stuff” and less of the “bad stuff” from freshly ground coffee beans.

    So Mark and I poured our coffee and got into our topics of the day. You can see our coffee selections and equipment setups in the links below.

    We didn't want to lose the whiskey theme, so we used an article exploring whether 10 million barrels of whiskey resting, or aging, in Kentucky is a good thing or a bad thing.

    This became a launchpad to talk about whether just-in-time is dead (as the Wall Street Journal likes to claim) or just misunderstood. We explore MIT's The Beer Game, system dynamics, supply chain design, decision making, and the glut of face masks and hand sanitizer. We could have likely talked about this topic for a very long time, and had we been into a glass of whiskey, perhaps we would have. 

    In addition to a little detour into Mark's many hats, including the reason he wears two different hats in one episode, we close on a personal note of how we both like to start our day: with coffee, reading news, and a view. 

    Jamie's coffee, Death Wish, and Mark's coffee, Yellow Caturra

    Jamie's KitchenAid grinder, Chemex pour over, and kettle

    Mark's different KitchenAid grinder, Bodum pour over, and electric kettle

    10 Million bourbon barrels resting – too much or not enough? 

    The Wall Street Journey's misinformed piece on JIT, Jeff Liker on JIT, Dr. Jonathan Byrnes on supply chain shockwaves, and Dr. Byrnes as a guest Mark's LeanBlog podcast

    MIT's The Beer Game, system dynamics and accumulators and delays, and supply and demand

    Mark's hat and Jamie's morning view 

    • 1 hr 25 min
    The Accidental St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, and Discussing New CEOs Carol Tomé, Rosalind Brewer, and Jane Fraser

    The Accidental St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, and Discussing New CEOs Carol Tomé, Rosalind Brewer, and Jane Fraser

    Show notes and links: https://www.leanblog.org/whiskey26

    In Episode 26, we accidentally celebrate St. Patrick's Day with some Irish whiskey, lightly mourn some NCAA March Madness losses (or absences, and Jamie Flinchbaugh and Mark Graban welcome guest co-host Adam Zak. We selected Irish whiskey as a category because we hadn't used it yet, but after changing the date of the scheduled recording, we ended up quite close to St. Patrick's Day (which was officially a dry holiday until 1970, but that pendulum certainly swung the other way). 

    In the spirit of Adam Zak's career as an executive recruiter with a Lean lens, we discuss many of the new CEO appointments, in particular, Carol Tomé at UPS, Rosalind Brewer at Walgreens, and Jane Fraser at Citigroup. These appointments are historic in one sense, but also highlight the fact that only 41 of the Fortune 500 are run by women (and Brewer is the only Black woman of the group). We explore what matters when selecting a new CEO, how that fits the strategic needs of the company, and how Lean thinking might influence or be leveraged by some of these leaders. 

    We explore a common listener question: Do you think it's possible for a Lean organization to do well with quality and safety? As we certainly don't feel this question takes much nuance to answer, we make our way through this fairly quickly and on to our closing question about what books we are reading these days, with a slight detour into our reading habits. 

    Adam Zak's website, his book Simple Excellence with Bill Waddell, and 2008 guest appearance on Mark's Lean Blog podcast #105 

    Adam's whiskey selection, 18 YO Tullamore D.E.W.

    Jamie's selection, Green Spot aged in zinfandel barrels from Chateau Montelena

    Mark's selection, a special bottle of Teeling that he filled at the Dublin distillery, along with an honorable mention of Writers' Tears (since we're all published authors)

    A little about new UPS CEO Carol Tomé on Wikipedia and an interview 

    A little something about new Walgreens CEO Rosalind Brewer on Wikipedia and Financial Times    

    Stuff about new Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser on Wikipedia and NYT

    Our collective reading list, Believe in People, The Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes, Constant Comedy, and Team of Rivals

    Podcast feed at LeanWhiskey.com or at leanblog.org/leanwhiskey or at jflinch.com/leanwhiskey 

    • 1 hr 20 min
    Peaty Scotch, Working from Home, and Misunderstood Lean Phrases with Jim Benson

    Peaty Scotch, Working from Home, and Misunderstood Lean Phrases with Jim Benson

    In Episode 25, Jamie Flinchbaugh and Mark Graban welcome a guest to our show, with Jim Benson joining us. Jim has been a long-time collaborator of Mark's, and certainly enjoys a dram or two of whiskey. We begin by getting the backstory on Jim's Twitter handle @OurFounder, complete with artwork. 

    Show notes: https://www.leanwhiskey.com/whiskey25

    Since it's still winter, and Jamie continues to spend more time driving his snowblower than his car, we thought “something peaty” felt fitting. We all selected something peaty from our scotch collection, from Highland Park to Samaroli to Lagavulin, and we learned about Jim's favorite whisky shop in the UK. We discuss the continued extension of work-from-home practices, and both the need and opportunity to make it effective for each individual. This includes everything from ergonomics to managing your attention span, with a little detour into the Pomodoro technique. 

    We explored lean phrases that are commonly used but often misunderstood, including “lean project”, “kaizen”, and “respect for people.” The three of us fall dangerously close to “cranky old lean guy” territory, but pull ourselves out just in time for our fun closing question of something we watched recently that was disappointing, ranging from Wonder Woman 1984 to The Muppet Show to baking shows. 

    May you enjoy your whiskey, and your work, in peace and health. Cheers! 

    Show Notes and Links
    Jim's Twitter handle OurFounder, along with Mark and Jamie on Twitter

    Mark and Jim's upcoming webinar on 3/2 on humane management and their previous podcast episode on the topic 

    We selected “something peaty” so here's a bit about the peat scale 

    Jamie's go-to selection, Lagavulin 16 year old

    Mark's Samaroli Islay Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

    Jim's 21 year old from Highland Park

    Jim's favorite UK-based whisky shop Milroy's 

    FastCompany on finding the best place to work at home

    Jamie's video on making his home office more productive, and a waste walk on his morning routine 

    The Pomodoro technique 

    Mark's blog post on not using the Deming quote to threaten people 

    Jamie's blog post on the myths of the lean principle respect for people 

    Mark's “Choose Lean” LeanBlog mug 

    • 1 hr 15 min
    Homemade Whiskey Cream and Vaccination (Not to be Mixed Up)

    Homemade Whiskey Cream and Vaccination (Not to be Mixed Up)

    Mark Graban & Jamie Flinchbaugh


    In Episode 24, Mark and Jamie return to a familiar format, just the two of them chatting over some whiskey. In this episode, they decide to make homemade whiskey cream (more popularly known as Irish cream or just Bailey's). Mark's recipe is keto-friendly and Jamie's utilizes rye whiskey. Check out the links below for their recipes and a history of the creation of Bailey's Irish Cream. 

    After celebrating Jamie's completion of his next book's manuscript and Mark's immersion into the world of spirits with WSET Level 2 Spirits certification, they dive into their topic: lean thinking applied to the rollout of the covid vaccine.

    We begin with framing the topic with Dwight Eisenhower's quote: “Farming looks mighty easy if your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field.”

    We acknowledge the difficulty of the challenge and try to avoid blame, but still focus on how continuous improvement thinking can and should be applied at all levels of the challenge, from national distribution to localized application. We remain hopeful that learning and best practice sharing (and adoption) will win the day, even if we're off to a slow start. 

    We wrap up talking about our favorite board games. Enjoy the episode!

    • 1 hr 21 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

Top Podcasts In Business

Listeners Also Subscribed To