Home > The Lean Post> "Transformation"
The Lean Post
Sharing how the world is making things better through lean.
Transformation on the Lean Post
Ask Art: At What Pace Should A Lean Turnaround Be Implemented?”
Changing from a traditional batch, make-the-month culture to a lean value driven culture takes a lot of time and effort, says Art Byrne. The faster you go, the sooner you willsee the enormous benefits of lean. Also, the faster you go the less backsliding you will see and the changes will become permanent. So be bold, go as fast as you can.… More »
I'm Josh Howell, Ask Me Anything
Since becoming LEI’s president a few months ago, Josh Howell has made it a priority to talk with you and visit your workplaces as much as possible. Please join in an Ask-Me-Anything conversation with Josh by sharing questions you have about the lean movement and the business struggles and problems you face.… More »
Learning the Social and Technical Aspects of Lean on the Kentucky Lean Leadership Tour
Why join the upcoming US Learning Tour in Kentucky? This interview between Josh Howell, John Shook and Jamie Bonini discusses why this tour will help people understand the Toyota Production System as an organizational culture of highly engaged people, solving problems or innovating to drive performance.… More »
Why We Believe Lean is Worth Our Unwavering Commitment
Lean provides a powerful alternative to short-term enterprise driven solely by the goal of maximizing profits while externalizing human and environmental costs, argues these leading Lean thinkings, who reveal why Lean promises a more humane, productive, meaningful, and ultimately, sustainable path forward.… More »
The Gift of Yokoten
In this article originally published in Planet Lean, after a visit to Goshen, Indiana, Jim Womack shared thoughts on the gift of lean thinking and the obligation that individuals learning this way of thinking feel about sharing what they've learned with others.… More »
Ask Art: Aren’t You a Little “Old School” in Your Kaizen Approach To Implementing Lean Thinking?
When you say “kaizen is old school” you may be seriously off track, argues Art Byrne. Focusing on tools like A3 might be popular and trendy, but companies that focus on tools have a hard time getting out of the tools stage of lean; and rarely become lean enterprises. They are taking the easy way out.… More »
The Road to Becoming a Lean Leadership Team Has Potholes
Lean veteran Orry Fiume shares the story how the leadership team at The Wiremold Company took on the challenging work of transitioning from being traditional, functional, independent executives to becoming a Lean leadership team.… More »
Why We Believe that Lean is About Changing Our Own Behaviors, and Not Just Accumulating New Knowledge
Lean repeatedly pushes us to develop new competences (or recover lost know-hows) through kaizen and problem solving. This collection of short articles from seven leading lean sensei women from around the world expand on this topic, arguing that Lean requires a major shift in our behaviors.… More »
People First Leadership: A Conversation by Jim Morgan with Alan Mulally
Alan Mulally is a brilliant engineer who led historic transformations as CEO of Boeing Commercial and then Ford Motor Company. But just as important as what he accomplished, is how he accomplished it. His people first, inclusive approach to leadership not only created great products and successful companies, but also created an organization people wanted to be a part of.… More »
Ask Art: How is Lean A Time-Based Strategy?
Operating lean is the best way to compete on time, says Art Byrne, who notes that every time you remove waste you shorten the time and resources to do something. Lean is not a cost reduction program. Although you’ll get plenty of that as a side benefit, it is strategic, and over time creates unfair competitive advantage for you.… More »
Take Baby Steps Towards Improvement
As you think about your 2019 resolutions, ask yourself if you’re making the change too big and, therefore, too scary, suggests Mark Graban. Instead of feeling dejected, take the “kaizen” advice of making the change small.… More »
Thinking About the Why of the What of Problem-Solving
When we talk about problem-solving, what we’re really talking about here is creating adaptive capacity, the deep capability of an organization to tackle anything that comes its way, any obstacle that comes between you and where you want to go. Tackling problems one by one is what gives an organization capability for deep adaptability.… More »
Book Review: Four Types of Problems
If you are developing a problem solver in your personal life or on your team, or if you’re continuously developing as a problem solver yourself, the new book Four Types of Problems will guide and support growth through active reading, application and reflection, says lean thinker Deb McGee.… More »
Lean Transformation? Not Buying It
Companies often describe their transformation efforts in terms of an end-state: focusing on targeted results. They see transformation as a noun--a specific target or condition they wish to attain at a point in time. This paradigm prevents them from viewing transformation as a verb - a way of being they need to live every day.… More »
How Does Asking Questions Create Change?
Lean is not a sum of processes to acquire and apply which then will make things magically work better. It’s a set of techniques to visualize delivery processes so everyone understands them at a glance, reveal problems to give opportunities for people to exercise their abilities to think, be creative and utilize their strengths to self-actualize in the course of their work.… More »
Thinking About Waste Helps Build A Learning Culture Everywhere
Developing people to reduce waste in everything from using toilets to saving one second of work is key to creating a learning platform, says Sammy Obara.… More »
The Future of Lean Healthcare: A Faster Type of Transformation?
We all know that lean transformations take a long time to occur, and in some senses, they never end. But what if we could change that? What if there was a way to expedite lean transformations for those industries with an urgent need, like healthcare? Here's what the Lean Global Network is doing to explore that.… More »
It Starts Within: The Lean Journey of CI&T
The lean transformation of Brazilian tech company CI&T was unique in that it began with an implementation of hoshin kanri. In this interview from the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit, CI&T founders Bruno Guicardi and Cesar Gon explain why this was the best approach for them.… More »
Ask Art: “Do lean conversions actually go smoothly, like in the books?”
Art Byrne receives many inquiries from people wondering whether lean transformations really are as smooth as they seem in books, or if the way is pockmarked with problems. He sets the record straight in this latest installment of "Ask Art."… More »
Why You Should Think of Lean Tools as Frames
Michael Ballé, co-author of the recent book "The Lean Strategy" with Dan Jones, Orry Fiume, and Jacques Chaize; discusses why it's time to think of lean tools as frames for learning.… More »
Ask Art: Is Lean a Strategy?
The debate over whether lean should be considered a strategy, philosophy, methodology, etc. is a long one. Merriam-Webster defines a strategy as "a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time." Does lean fit into that label? Art Byrne explores.… More »
Ask Art: Why do so few companies that implement lean do it successfully?
We've all heard the stories of failed lean implementations, as well as the hotly debated question of "Why did it fail?" In his many years as a lean leader, Art Byrne has seen quite a few possible reasons for a lean failure - read more.… More »
Ask Art: How is lean the opposite of everything people have been trained to do?
Art Byrne explains why, and how, lean practice is the opposite of what most people have learned about work in any setting… More »
The Problems Inherent in Change – and What You Can Do about Them
Anyone who's been involved in an organizational transformation knows that its challenges go well beyond resistance. Katrina Appell sheds some light on the deeper challenges presented by change management plus some helpful solutions for getting past them.… More »
Ford’s Focus: Lean Lessons from the Recession's Greatest Success Story
After listening to Jim Morgan talk about Ford Motor Company's lean turnaround strategy during the Great Recession, Cam Ford (no relation) muses on how it could hold an important lesson for companies today, regardless of size or industry.… More »
Narrowing the Scope of Kaizen Activities
Are you having trouble implementing kaizen activities? If so, the solution could be as simple as narrowing down your targets for improvement. Andy Quibell shares his thoughts on what should be the real focus, plus his favorite sketch for planning and executing kaizen activities.… More »
Rethinking Disaster Recovery on the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina
As the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches on August 23rd-29th, read about how lean thinking is changing how New Orleans and the rest of the U.S. is recovering from disasters. Then read or bookmark the full case study.… More »
Coaching: A Core Skill for Transformational Leadership
LEI's CEO and Chairman John Shook shares his keynote presentation from the sold-out 2015 Lean Coaching Summit earlier this week in Seattle.… More »
Lean is About Building Organizations that Learn to Learn
In April, LEI's John Shook spoke at the LeanUX NYC conference about how the lean movement has changed (and not changed) over time and what any community (user design or otherwise) needs to focus on in terms of leadership behaviors in order to build strong organizations that solve problems. Watch the video and read excerpts from his keynote.… More »
No Change is Easy: The Starbucks Siren Steps into
Dunkin Donuts’ World of Orange and Pink

Lean is about a willingness to experiment and if necessary, change our approach to our work and our daily routine. Lisa Adams, a lean coach at Liberty Mutual, shares a personal story about adjusting to a MAJOR change in her daily routine: her coffee. After moving to Boston from Sacramento, Adams had to to switch from Starbucks to Dunkin' Donuts. Read what happens next.… More »
Developing Students, Improving Universities
"Today, lean thinking in higher education is uncommon," writes Theresa Coleman-Kaiser of Michigan Tech University. "As a rule, institutions that teach lean continuous improvement in their academic curricula or that have centers or institutes to educate the public struggle themselves to be practitioners in their own administrative processes." Learn more about how Michigan Tech is working to change this.… More »
The Angry Team Member and the Changing Organization
Toyota veteran and lean coach Lesa Nichols reflects on one of the most challenging and ultimately rewarding conversations she had with a team member.… More »
Grasping the Real Situation
Emmanuel Jallas visits a well-respected company that is vocal about its lean transformation. Upon further investigation he finds that like so many places, lean was "put in place" here without any consideration for or effort made toward creating a lean culture.… More »
What Should Lean Mean to Us?
Brent Wahba offers lean beginners a few tips for how to be most impactful. "If you are working on how to begin your situational Lean journey," he writes, "what is the gap between your current mental model of Lean and what Lean needs to be to deliver success in your specific circumstances?"… More »
Ron Pereira and Jim Morgan Discuss the Power of Lean Product and Process Development
Check out excerpts from Gemba Academy's podcast with Jim Morgan on core lean product and process development concepts, what makes "LPPD" different from traditional product development, and what the lean idea of "respect for people" really means.… More »
Testing the Lean Transformation Model in India
Dhirendra Kumar Dubey of Lean Management Institute of India (LMII) shares what he's learned about the effectiveness of the Lean Transformation Model through institute projects.… More »
Are We "Doing Lean" All Wrong?
"Somewhere in Ohio is a small healthcare management company that is the best Lean company, EVER," says Brent Wahba. Why? "Because they seemed highly unlikely to succeed," he writes, and "followed a path that would make nearly any traditional sensei convulse."… More »
Looking Back and Ahead at The Lean Transformation Summit
Read the highlights from the 2014 Lean Transformation Summit in Orlando (featuring transformation stories from companies like GE, Cardinal Health, and Food Bank For New York City) and tell us what you'd like to see and learn at next year's summit!… More »
If You Want to Lead, Make Your Vision Actionable
An organizational vision that makes clear a compelling future, one that brings all levels of the organization together, one that creates momentum and buy-in across all parts of the organization, is actually quite hard to develop. Read why.… More »
Transforming Healthcare is Complex, Start with a Model Cell
John Toussaint from the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value explains what he's learned about how meaningful organizational change happens from visiting and working with over 130 healthcare organizations in 12 different countries, all with their own unique problems and challenges.… More »
Transformation on Lean.org
C.J. Buck, CEO of Buck Knives
When sales of a key product cratered, Buck Knives CEO C.J. Buck realized that he had to cut costs by 30% to stay in business. He moved the company from California to Idaho and lauched a lean transform… More »
Leadership Q&A: Dr. Jack Billi, associate dean and associate vice president for medical affairs
From the LEI senior executive series on lean leadership: Jack Billi, M.D., associate dean for clinical affairs, University of Michigan Medical School, professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Educa… More »
An Approach to Lean Transformation
Lean transformations occur in few companies because the change process is complex. Without understanding the multifaceted organizational and human factors related to lean transformations, change is di… More »
Value-Stream Mapping for Manufacturing
Learn how to use this fundamental initial step in a lean transformation to create the "blueprints" for applying other tools and targeting kaizen events most effectively.… More »
Lean Leadership: Through the Transformation and Beyond
The purpose of this interactive one-day program is to facilitate a discussion with senior leaders about the challenges and obstacles they face implementing change relative to the lean transformation. … More »
The Problems Inherent in Change – and What You Can Do about Them
Anyone who's been involved in an organizational transformation knows that its challenges go well beyond resistance. Katrina Appell sheds some light on the deeper challenges presented by change management plus some helpful solutions for getting past them.… More »
Ford’s Focus: Lean Lessons from the Recession's Greatest Success Story
After listening to Jim Morgan talk about Ford Motor Company's lean turnaround strategy during the Great Recession, Cam Ford (no relation) muses on how it could hold an important lesson for companies today, regardless of size or industry.… More »
Narrowing the Scope of Kaizen Activities
Are you having trouble implementing kaizen activities? If so, the solution could be as simple as narrowing down your targets for improvement. Andy Quibell shares his thoughts on what should be the real focus, plus his favorite sketch for planning and executing kaizen activities.… More »
Rethinking Disaster Recovery on the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina
As the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches on August 23rd-29th, read about how lean thinking is changing how New Orleans and the rest of the U.S. is recovering from disasters. Then read or bookmark the full case study.… More »
Coaching: A Core Skill for Transformational Leadership
LEI's CEO and Chairman John Shook shares his keynote presentation from the sold-out 2015 Lean Coaching Summit earlier this week in Seattle.… More »
Lean is About Building Organizations that Learn to Learn
In April, LEI's John Shook spoke at the LeanUX NYC conference about how the lean movement has changed (and not changed) over time and what any community (user design or otherwise) needs to focus on in terms of leadership behaviors in order to build strong organizations that solve problems. Watch the video and read excerpts from his keynote.… More »
No Change is Easy: The Starbucks Siren Steps into
Dunkin Donuts’ World of Orange and Pink

Lean is about a willingness to experiment and if necessary, change our approach to our work and our daily routine. Lisa Adams, a lean coach at Liberty Mutual, shares a personal story about adjusting to a MAJOR change in her daily routine: her coffee. After moving to Boston from Sacramento, Adams had to to switch from Starbucks to Dunkin' Donuts. Read what happens next.… More »
Developing Students, Improving Universities
"Today, lean thinking in higher education is uncommon," writes Theresa Coleman-Kaiser of Michigan Tech University. "As a rule, institutions that teach lean continuous improvement in their academic curricula or that have centers or institutes to educate the public struggle themselves to be practitioners in their own administrative processes." Learn more about how Michigan Tech is working to change this.… More »
The Angry Team Member and the Changing Organization
Toyota veteran and lean coach Lesa Nichols reflects on one of the most challenging and ultimately rewarding conversations she had with a team member.… More »
Grasping the Real Situation
Emmanuel Jallas visits a well-respected company that is vocal about its lean transformation. Upon further investigation he finds that like so many places, lean was "put in place" here without any consideration for or effort made toward creating a lean culture.… More »
What Should Lean Mean to Us?
Brent Wahba offers lean beginners a few tips for how to be most impactful. "If you are working on how to begin your situational Lean journey," he writes, "what is the gap between your current mental model of Lean and what Lean needs to be to deliver success in your specific circumstances?"… More »
Ron Pereira and Jim Morgan Discuss the Power of Lean Product and Process Development
Check out excerpts from Gemba Academy's podcast with Jim Morgan on core lean product and process development concepts, what makes "LPPD" different from traditional product development, and what the lean idea of "respect for people" really means.… More »
Testing the Lean Transformation Model in India
Dhirendra Kumar Dubey of Lean Management Institute of India (LMII) shares what he's learned about the effectiveness of the Lean Transformation Model through institute projects.… More »
Are We "Doing Lean" All Wrong?
"Somewhere in Ohio is a small healthcare management company that is the best Lean company, EVER," says Brent Wahba. Why? "Because they seemed highly unlikely to succeed," he writes, and "followed a path that would make nearly any traditional sensei convulse."… More »
Looking Back and Ahead at The Lean Transformation Summit
Read the highlights from the 2014 Lean Transformation Summit in Orlando (featuring transformation stories from companies like GE, Cardinal Health, and Food Bank For New York City) and tell us what you'd like to see and learn at next year's summit!… More »
If You Want to Lead, Make Your Vision Actionable
An organizational vision that makes clear a compelling future, one that brings all levels of the organization together, one that creates momentum and buy-in across all parts of the organization, is actually quite hard to develop. Read why.… More »
Transforming Healthcare is Complex, Start with a Model Cell
John Toussaint from the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value explains what he's learned about how meaningful organizational change happens from visiting and working with over 130 healthcare organizations in 12 different countries, all with their own unique problems and challenges.… More »