Coleman Recommended Resources

Coleman Associates loves seeking out resources, stumbling upon thought-provoking videos and learning from others both inside and outside the healthcare industry. We’d love to share our favorites with you.

New and In the News:

Thinking about re-positioning your C-suite for the future with its evolving expectations and demands. Read this Fortune Magazine article about Dr. Vivian Lee, a physician who altered her perspective by getting a business degree and learning about the costs associated with running a health care business.

This opinion article from the WSJ brings provider shortages and the ever evolving world of the primary are providers into a new light. Read this article as you consider the view through the lens of changing medical school requirements. Will technology change this idea further?

Podcasts, Videos & Blogs:

Coleman Associates Innovation Podcast. Reduce No-Show Rates in Community Health? Redesign the visit to actually work for the patient? These seemingly insurmountable challenges and more are explored in a podcast hosted by Coleman Associates. We will interview health centers, redesign experts and dramatic performance improvement veterans on what worked, what was challenging and what you can do to start your own transformation effort tomorrow.

Freakonomics Podcast: How to Get More Grit. The psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that a person’s level of stick-to-itiveness is directly related to their level of success. No big surprise there. But grit, she says, isn’t something you’re born with — it can be learned. Here’s how. This is a great listen if you are a leader in the learning zone, looking to grow and excel in a new area of your life.

Only Human: A Podcast. Only Human is a show that isn’t afraid to have those uncomfortable conversations about our healthcare, or how to experiment with possible solutions. Hosted by Mary Harris, Only Human tells stories we all can relate to. Because every body has a story. This one in particular, “Why is Healthcare so Expensive?” is a great 15-minute listen explaining the complexities of our health system and why it’s so darn expensive.

Podcast: How I Built This. How I Built This is a podcast about what is possible and how to go from a dream to a successful, or eventually successful implementable model, prototype, system or product.

Solvable Podcast. This podcast, featuring a Coleman Associates favorite, Malcolm Gladwell, digs into huge, seemingly overwhelming problems. But, instead of getting caught up in the “why we can’t” mentality, it busts through all of that and asks “how do we get there?” They apply this optimism to problems such as ending homelessness for everyone everywhere and giving refugees the same educational and economic outcomes as their non-refugee counterparts. This is a great podcast for when you are feeling stuck with how to solve challenging problems or when you are ready to don your cape to go out and save the world.

Cy Wakeman: Tired of Drama getting in the way of seeing patients and getting valuable work done. Check out this entertaining and inspiring video by Cy Wakeman (Reality Based Leadership) to hear her perspective on workplace drama, open door policies, venting, and helping your employees to be great everyday.


Simon Sinek provides a short and humorous way to look at performance and how to pick the right people for the right teams. How can leaders quantify trust and why is it important in your organizational leadership. This 2.5 minute lesson learned from the navy seals is definitely worth the time.


Eric Dishman’s Ted Talk: Coleman Associates has taught Team Based care for decades. Finally, this movement is gaining real momentum… however there are severe gaps because of culture, hierarchy, history and the inability of thousands to see the link between the past and the future. In many ways, we are our own biggest roadblock to catching up to this way of working.

Now, zoom ahead to the future… advances in technology, social connectedness, and Patient Care Teams make “the sacred and somewhat over-romanticized doctor patient one-on-one is a relic of the past.” “The future of healthcare is smart teams and you better be on that team for yourself.” says Eric Dishman. See for yourself!

A Must-See! Brian Goldman’s Ted Talks: Doctors Make Mistakes, Can We Talk About That? This video is a snapshot into a very serious subject: medial errors. This clip is a 19-minute video that is great as a stand alone and ideal as a conversation starter. Use this in provider meetings, patient care team work-sessions or in clinical leadership trainings. Physician Brian Goldman talks about mistakes and how medical culture begs for a shift in order to make real life medical failures a critical learning step between your present day work and future successes. It’s a culture change if you allow it to be. Click here for the Ted Talks. 

Physician and Author Atul Gawande writes about improvement, quality, coaching and optimizing healthcare. In this video he talks about the virtue of being coached to continually improve the way we work. If doctors can benefit from coaching, can’t we all?  Watch his Ted Talk about Coaching. 

Shawn Achor’s Ted Talks: The Happy Secret to Better Work. This fast paced, very funny 12-minute video is riveting and is a must see for everyone. Anyone who has ever thought or said “As soon as…, I’ll be happy” must see this an understand how this very notion is impossible and approaches happiness from the wrong angle. This video is a great addition to a management session, a staff meeting, a teaching or motivating meeting or any gathering where you are seeking a catalyst for the participants to embrace happiness as part of their life improvement.

“How to Change the World – A Practical Blog for Impractical People.” Known as the former Chief Evangelist for Apple, this best-selling author hosts his “How to Change the World” blog where he shares his ideas of how to enchant the world. From marketing, to technology, customer service, and product development, Guy believes that “if you need to enchant people, you’re doing something meaningful. If you’re doing something meaningful, you need enchantment.” Tune in daily as he gives useful advice applicable to any industry.

Click here for Guy Kawaski’s Blog. Innovator. Idea generator. Guy Kawaski has brought his strengths in innovation, idea spreading and social media to all of us through his blogs, tweets and speeches.


The Creation Myth by Malcolm Gladwell. This inspiring article tells two stories of innovations and how great ideas come together by debunking some misconceptions about how great ideas are built and features a great story about Steve Jobs in his earlier days. This article should leave you inspired to challenge yourself around what you do with the ideas you catch, rather than fretting over what ideas come to you in the first place.

Estonia: The Digital Republic by Nathan Heller. This article has nothing at all to do with healthcare… Which is why you might need to read it. This article is a chance to leave the barriers of your health center and think about how our lives could be different and better if we could abandon the pre-described norms and just embrace, really embrace technology.

Why Trying New Things is So Hard to Do. In this NY Times article Sendhill Mullainathan explores how his and others habits around what soda we buy,  our daily commuting routine, etc., are shaped by our habits rather than by data or our best judgment about how we ought to do what we do.

Six Steps for Turning Setbacks into Advantages. People experience six distinct stages of turning adversity into growth. Read more to learn about the change process.

Managing with the Brain in MindDavid Rock marries neuroscience research with everything we feel and see play out in the workplace. Rock studies the brain’s response to feeling threatened or judged at work and found the brain reacted the same way as if the body had been physically assaulted! How can anyone work well under those circumstances? Best Managers understand that you can’t ignore emotions in the workplace. Read this article and learn how to foster a work environment that reduces threat, increases certainty, and creates a sense of relatedness. Accomplish those three things and you will create a higher performing and more satisfied staff!

Discipline of Teams Smith and Katzenback brought to life the interworking of a true team back in the early 1990s. In our modern days of work the word team is overused and has lost most of its meaning. This article serves as a brilliant and simplistic reminder of what makes a great team great!

Recommended Books:

No Ego by Cy Wakeman. The book No Ego was recommended to me by a health center CEO who told me how it transformed her thinking about her need to make employees happy, employee engagement and drama in the workplace. Having read the book twice this last month, I strongly agree that Cy Wakeman makes some very practical and grounded points about how managers can more effectively manage. This is a fabulous read to challenge age old “management wisdom”.

Reality-Based Leadership Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace, and Turn Excuses into Results. This is another practical read from Cy Wakeman in which she tackles emotional waste, learned helplessness, playing favorites, and becoming a leader and manager who leads instead of dreading your most frustrating employees and their behaviors.

Monday Morning Leadership by David Cottrell. This book is a must-read for managers at any level. Whether you’re a brand new manager or a seasoned one, Cottrell’s brief practical and direct management lessons are universally relatable. He covers topic such as ownership, time management, hiring and retaining superstars, providing feedback and continuing to grow yourself as a manager. Consider this book #1 if you are new to management.

Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. In this practical and relatable fable Lencioni explores how trust, commitment, conflict, accountability and ultimate inattention to results can negatively impact a leadership team. The book has a corresponding workbook. The language in this book provides a starting point and a shared vocabulary for leadership teams to use as they work on their own team dynamics. As Lencioni puts it, our staff want to know that their leadership is working well together toward a common vision and keeping them from having to deal with dysfunctions and politics.

Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley and David Kelley
“Dave and Tom have written an incredibly insightful book that challenges us all to have the courage to break our of our ruts, innovate and create.” Tim Koogle, Former President and CEO of Yahoo

Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni. Another fable turned to insights in this story about how one company took control of their meeting culture, unleashed the spirit of healthy conflict and found ways to define and eliminate needless meetings. Learn how to grow beyond days of slow and painful meetings where topics are revisited and some folks spend countless hours updating their peers in mundane and uninteresting ways. This book can really shake up your organization’s meetings if you are open to testing Lencioni’s proposed structure.

How Did That Happen? by Tom Smith and Roger Connors. This book offers an easy-to-understand, methodical process of building accountability in your organization. Have you ever wondered why projects come and go, but success, long-term success, is hard to come by? The authors provide an effective way to drive organizational efforts by being clear about goals and expectations, making sure all have the tools and motivation needed to succeed, and holding everyone (including yourself) accountable for obtaining results. This is a great handbook for any manager wanting to create an culture where accountability is embraced as a positive way to get positive results.

Change by Design by Tim Brown
“Tim Brown has written the definitive book on design thinking. Brown’s wit, experience, and compelling stories create a delightful journey. His masterpiece captures the emotions, mind-set, and methods required for designing everything, from a  product to an experience to a strategy, in entirely different ways.” Robert I. Sutton, author of The No Asshole Rule

Three Signs of a Miserable Job renamed as The Truth about Employee Engagement by Patrick Lencioni. This quick  read tells how a managers job is to help employees feel connected to their job and to help them realize the impact their work (and the quality of their work) has on customers and the organization. In this fable and corresponding summary, Lencioni inspires managers with practical ways that they can help their staff to avoid feeling like their work doesn’t matter by touching on anonymity, measurement and relevance in the workplace.

Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace  has been called one of the best books out now on creative leadership. This interesting Pixar movie read has nothing to do with healthcare and everything to do with creating and sustaining a culture of making failure a necessary step on the path to success.  Read this helpful book review by’s  David Slocum.

Hooked, by Nir Eyal. Hooked, presents a four step method to drive user engagement and build (ideally) healthy habits among end-users.  As re-designers and process improvers, it presents an intelligent way to go about designing workflows that staff and patients can easily absorb and adopt.

Understanding Variation: The Key To Managing Chaos by Donald J. Wheeler. Data driven decision-making seems to be a hot phrase in the world of health-care redesign. It’s scope and size has increased exponentially with the growth of the Internet, search engines like Google, and (in our realm) with the implementation of EMR’s.  But before this information can be useful it must be analyzed, interpreted, and presented in a meaningful way. Understanding Variation presented some easy to grasp principles and techniques to digest data and extract it’s meaning.

The Creative Destruction of Medicine, Dr. Eric Topol. Dr. Topol describes how technology is changing Medicine, giving physicians more diagnostic and predictive tools, and patients more control and options. It’s a glance into the possible future of medicine

The Brain That Changes Itself. Norman Doidge, MD. While our attitude and behavior towards change creates various barriers, this book demonstrates that our brain readily creates new neural pathways (aka plasticity) to help a blind person see through their tongue. It gives a new perspective on the power of thinking positively.

The Penguin and the Leviathan. Yochai Benkler. The power of teamwork, communication, and cooperation transforms our relationship with work, and brings us closer to our true sense of community.

First Break All of the Rules. Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. This is must-read for managers! Want to turn that old-school management style into effective leadership? Want to tap all of your people for their unique talent(s) and turn them into your top performers? Pick up this book, break conventional wisdom, and start picking favorites at work! First Break all of the Rules explores what the world’s best managers do differently and how their practices boost productivity and staff satisfaction.

Factfulness by Hans Rosling
A review by Bill Gates on why this book is one of the most important reads for our time.

Good to Great Jim Collins. Written by fellow Boulder-ite Jim Collins, this book gives examples of businesses who have either stayed mediocre or found a way to excel. While Good is the enemy of Great this book doesn’t tear down the “good” but rather gives strategies for finding your way to be “great.” It’s an inspiring book about hard work, diligence, management and tough decisions.

Fish! Lundin, Paul and Christensen. Want to have fun at work and boost staff morale? This parable applies simple lessons learned at Seattle’s famous Pike Place Fish Market to any work environment. No, you won’t learn how to throw a 30 pound mackrel around, but you WILL discover how to promote a culture of appreciation, fun and great customer service! Trialed and tested at health care organizations, this methodology dramatically changed the lives of health care professionals who were facing burnout and the effects of dealing with a sick patient population day in and day out. Pick it up and then consider purchasing the companion DVD, FiSH! Tales to watch at your next staff meeting!

Redefining Health Care. Porter, Michael E and Olmstead Teisberg, Elizabeth. In this textbook style approach to health care problems and proposed solutions the authors take a data based, deep look into problems that plague healthcare including measurement, competition, quality, reimbursement, insurance, etc., It’s a very in depth, academic book rich with citings and background to get you up to speed on the challenges facing the industry. 2006.

Healthcare and Public Health Fiction:

Mountains Beyond Mountains. Tracy Kidder. In this biography, Kidder tells the story of infectious disease specialist Paul Farmer, MD who takes his strong mind and his passionate determination to dramatically improve public health to Haiti. His inspiring ability to think in unconventional ways to reach patients is a fantastic story to re-ignite your passion to care for all patients.

Cutting for Stone. Abraham Verghese. It’s easy to see why this story that has nothing and everything to do with medicine has won its way into the hearts of so many readers. It’s a beautiful story that connects you on a new level to the practice of medicine.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Anne Fadiman. This is a must read for anyone entering public health and desiring a full exposure into the challenges of health care when cultures (and languages) do not easily align. The story of a Hmong patient and her American doctors tells a story to help bridge the culture gaps.

When you need some inspiration….

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Gloria Steinem.

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” — Ken Robinson

“The next time you’re faced with something that’s unexpected, unwanted and uncertain, consider that it just may be a gift.” – Stacey Kramer

“We always hope for the easy fix: the one simple change that will erase a problem in a stroke. But few things in life work this way. Instead, success requires making a hundred small steps go right – one after the other, no slipups, no goofs, everyone pitching in.” – Atul Gawande


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