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Understanding Lean Transformation (1 Day Class)

Through instruction, small group discussions and exercises, the workshop participants will:

  • Understand the five basic dimensions of organization change
  • Gain insights into key elements of a lean organization and the Lean Transformation Model
  • Reflect upon your own organization and/or project according to the LTM
  • Use key questions to begin creating a framework to guide your organization’s transformation



We are all trying to transform. At the company level a transformation is a very big experiment indeed, at both the macro level, and at the very granular level of the daily—hourly—immediate—work itself.

To transform the way people think and behave within an organization to be more of a problem-solving mindset is no easy task and varies from industry-to-industry, company-to-company, person-to-person.  It requires discipline, investment and a belief that we can make things better.

Workshop Description

Successful transformation calls for asituational approach that is based on innovating key dimensions of any organization through addressing a series of questions. These questions are fractal—meaning that the same questions apply whether working at the macro enterprise level or the level of individual responsibility as you dive progressively deeper into each dimension. But, while the transformation model that has emerged through years of experience is situational, the nature of the questions represent a clearpoint of view: If an organization fails to address each question, and with a sense of how each relates to the others, the transformation is headed for trouble.

Effective total transformation entails transforming five fundamental dimensions, through continuously addressing key questions associated with each:


  1. What is our purpose, what value to create or what situational problem are we trying to solve? 
    Have you made the purpose or mission clear to everyone? Does everyone know their value to create? Does each person know their specific, situational problem to solve?
  2. How are we improving the actual work? 
    Have you defined the work to be done? Is it being improved? How, by what means, to what end?
  3. How are we developing capability? 
    Do you have the necessary capabilities? Have you defined them? What is your approach to capability building? How are you developing people?
  4. What management system and leadership behaviors are required to support the new way of working? 
    Have you designed the management system and do your leaders exhibit the needed behaviors (to develop capability to do the work to accomplish the mission)?
  5. What basic thinking, mindset, or assumptions underlie this transformation? 
    Do you understand the current basic thinking (mindsets, assumptions, as well as values) and grasp its impact on the organization and its culture? What are you going to do to change the basic thinking and culture in desired directions?

By tackling each dimension through addressing questions, we avoid the pitfall of prescriptively giving solutions as is typical of most consultancy approaches to transformation.  Thus, we can have a dynamic approach to transformation in which each organization creates its own unique approach, one that helps them achieve their unique purpose through practical utilization of the deep wisdom embedded in the lean practices that have evolved over decades of rigorous PDCA.

We have learned that tackling the five dimensions through continually and thoroughly addressing these questions is both necessary and sufficient for a successful enterprise-wide transformation. 

Come explore the components of the Lean Transformation Model, see examples of what others are doing and reflect upon some potential gaps to close within your own organization.


Who should attend:

  • Senior Leaders
  • Improvement Deployment Leaders
  • Strategy Officers
Karen Gaudet Karen Gaudet
Director of Learning
Lean Enterprise Institute

Karen has over 20 years’ experience leading, training, and coaching high-performance teams of staff and executives in rapid-growth environments. Most recently, as regional director of licensed operations at Starbucks Coffee Company, she built a consistent track record of growing the number of retail stores along with the continuous improvement capabilities of people.

As director of learning at LEI, Karen’s responsibilities include:

  • Supporting Co-Learning Partners, a small group of select companies with a passion for collaborative learning and a willingness to share results with the global lean community.
  • Managing and continue to strengthen LEI’s education curriculum.
  • Delivering training at customer sites and public venues.
  • Managing relationships with 40-plus faculty members, lean management practitioners who have years of hands-on experience implementing what they teach.

At Starbucks, Karen made recommendations on the creation of an operating system model line, then led the first application in a working store and provided feedback necessary for a broad, global implementation. She also led a team of coaches responsible for teaching problem solving and mentoring skills to regional executives, directors, and district managers responsible for implementing the lean operating system. Karen led the growth of Starbucks’ New England market, adding 20 new stores annually for five years while hitting profit and return-on-investment goals.

Previously, she held management and executive posts in operations, marketing, and training at large restaurant chains, a retail consulting company, and a technology startup preparing for an initial public offering.

Josh Howell Josh Howell
Senior Coach
Lean Enterprise Institute

Josh has been learning and practicing lean management since he was a barista at Starbucks, where he ultimately led a cross-functional team that developed and implemented a standardized lean operating system for retail stores. Among its improvements, the system reduced brewed coffee waste and cut customer wait time. He also led and developed a team of coaches to sustain the lean transformation globally.   

As a coach with experience from the front lines to executive suites, Josh strikes a balance between offering quality instruction and thought-provoking questions. He trains people to focus on improving the actual work, the motions that directly create value for customers.  He shows them how to observe work closely, break it down, and run simple experiments that address clearly defined problems.  

His experience is mostly in new frontiers for lean thinking and practice, such as retail, restaurants, and other services. Howell holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.

Mark Reich Mark Reich
Chief Operating Officer
Lean Enterprise Institute

Mark oversees day-to-day operations at LEI, including marketing, finance, strategy, publishing, conferences, and training.  He also supports new product development and leads the Co-Learning Partners program, assisting companies engaged in lean transformation.

Before coming to LEI, he spent 23 years at Toyota in Japan and North America, most recently as general manager of the Toyota Production System Support Center (TSSC). As a hands-on GM, Mark directly implemented the Toyota Production System (TPS) or managed its implementation in a variety of industries, including automotive, food, furniture, and healthcare, among others.

Mark doubled the number of companies supported by TSSC from 20 to 40. He transitioned it from for-profit to nonprofit status so it could better support its original mission to strengthen North American manufacturing and help any organization interested in implementing TPS. He expanded the client base beyond manufacturing to hospitals, schools, low-income food distribution, and nationally prominent nonprofits

Previously, he was assistant general manager of the corporate strategy division where he managed and implemented Toyota's North American strategic (hoshin) process, designed jointly with Toyota’s Japan headquarters. He launched efforts to strengthen Toyota Way principles in administrative areas in North America, and facilitated the integration of its design and manufacturing organizations.

Reich has a bachelor's degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and specialized in Japanese studies at Nanzan University. He is fluent in written and spoken Japanese.

John Y. Shook John Y. Shook
Chairman and CEO
Lean Enterprise Institute

John Shook is recognized as a true sensei who enthusiastically shares his knowledge and insights within the Lean Community and with those who have not yet made the lean leap.

Shook learned about lean management while working for Toyota for nearly 11 years in Japan and the U.S., helping it transfer production, engineering, and management systems from Japan to NUMMI and subsequently to other operations around the world. While at Toyota's headquarters, he became the company's first American kacho (manager) in Japan. In the U.S., Shook joined Toyota’s North American engineering, research and development center in Ann Arbor, MI, as general manager of administration and planning. His last position with Toyota was as senior American manager with the Toyota Supplier Support Center in Lexington, KY, assisting North American companies implement the Toyota Production System. As co-author of Learning to See John helped introduce the world to value-stream mapping. John also co-authored Kaizen Express, a bi-lingual manual of the essential concepts and tools of the Toyota Production System. In his latest book Managing to Learn, he describes the A3 management process at the heart of lean management and leadership.

Shook is an industrial anthropologist with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, a master’s degree from the University of Hawaii, and is a graduate of the Japan-America Institute of Management Science. He is the former director of the University of Michigan, Japan Technological Management Program, and faculty of the university’s Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering.

He is the author of "Toyota’s Secret: The A3 Report"; Sloan Management Review, July 2010 and "How to Change a Culture: Lessons from NUMMI"; Sloan Management Review, January 2010, which won Sloan’s Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize for outstanding article in the field of organizational development.

Shook is a sought-after conference keynoter who has been interviewed on lean management by National Public Radio, Bloomberg News, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, and numerous trade publications.

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Price: $800.00
Price includes all participant materials, breakfast, lunch and snacks each day

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Cancelation Policy
Our workshops are designed to cater to a limited number of participants.  If you must cancel a workshop registration, you will be given a full refund up to four weeks before the workshop. A cancelation occuring within four weeks of the workshop will be subjected to a $350 cancelation fee.  Substitutions may be made at any time prior to the start of the workshop. To cancel a workshop registration, please call LEI at (617) 871-2900.