CEO Ken Segel Talked Frankly to a Reporter When He Was a Congressional Aide

CEO Ken Segel Talked Frankly to a Reporter When He Was a Congressional Aide


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My guest for Episode #147 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Ken Segel, the CEO and Managing Director of the firm Value Capture. Value Capture is a trusted advisory firm that supports chief executives who seek to transform the performance of their healthcare organization in safety, quality, and profitability.

In terms of disclosures, I have been a subcontractor to Value Capture for four years, serving as a senior advisor to healthcare clients and, during pandemic times, working as the Director of Strategic Marketing for the firm.

Prior to forming Value Capture, he served as the founding director of the Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare Initiative (PRHI) and he served for five years as Senior Program Officer at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation of Pittsburgh.

Earlier in his career, worked in government and politics, with various roles including directing the overnight operations in the 1992 Clinton-Gore presidential campaign “War Room.”

Ken has a B.A., Harvard University in American History and Literature and an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh

In today's episode, Ken shares his “favorite mistake” story about a time when he was a young legislative aide to Rep. Howard Berman. What went wrong when he went “on background” with a USA Today reporter? Why did he get a copy of the clipping with a “SEE ME” note from the Congressman?

I love Ken's reflections on the story and the episode:

We also talk about questions and topics including:

  • What happened when Ken met with the Congressman?
  • Immediate lesson learned about speaking to reporters?
  • Another lesson – wasn’t proud of the quote, wasn’t constructive
  • Leadership lessons?
  • Learning from mistakes
  • Berman was “a people developer”
  • Psychological safety
  • Not carte blanche for making more mistakes
  • How does psychological safety lead to better performance?
  • You mentioned learning from Toyota… What did you learn from the late Paul O’Neill about improvement and preventing and learning from mistakes?
  • Aspirational goals… theoretical limits
  • Tell us more about Value Capture – free eBooks
  • The podcast “Habitual Excellence

Scroll down to find:

  • Video of the episode
  • Quotes
  • How to subscribe
  • Full transcript

Find Ken on social media:

Watch the Episode:


"When I read the quote about the Senator's bill, I was not proud of it. It was in some ways sort of what I felt emotionally, but it was not constructive."
"Human beings want to do great things. We believe leaders want to leave great legacies."
"We learn a lot from Toyota and Toyota has this phrase that 'people have to be freed from the problems.'"

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.