Summer is here and as you lean learners prepare for some decidedly non-value added time in your schedule, consider any number of these books for your summer reading:
by Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg
"Inspiring story of not only how TPS transformed a nonprofit’s business (SBP) using visual management, standard work, and by making problems visible, but also how it touched the lives of those devastated by natural disasters by getting them home faster." Inspiring story of not only how TPS transformed a nonprofit’s (St. Bernard Project, or SBP) business using visual management, standard work, and by making problems visible, but also how it touched the lives of those devastated by natural disasters by getting them home faster. The two authors share how they formed SBP in response to the ravages of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and quickly realized the need to bring a disciplined approach to their “good” work. With the coaching of the Toyota Production System Support Center (TSSC), SBP and its workers improved their ability to break down their work into predictable and manageable routines, have better conversations about how to complete the work, and dramatically improve their capacity in a resource-challenged field.
The Lean Sensei
by Michael Ballé, Nicolas Chartier, Pascale Coignet, Sandrine Olivencia, Daryl Powell and Eivind Reke
This slim and elegant primer on the key role of “the lean sensei” in this modern system of work provides a wealth of insights for those familiar with lean, and for those who are just learning about it. Framing lean as a system of education rather than a system of production, the authors explain why learning is at the heart of lean. They explain how mastering a mindful approach to continual learning requires an openness, to both one-time “improvements” and, at the same time, a double-loop outlook of teeing up systemic gaps, flawed mental models, and confronting the continuous challenge of never settling for one-time gains. They explain the required elements of teaching this system; and explain the dynamic role of a sensei to guide others in deepening their practice and understanding.
A great resource for understanding the animating spirit at the heart of Lean.
The Fearless Organization
by Amy Edmondson
"Amy Edmondson outlines ways to improve the climate so that people are really able to bring their best self to work and to improve their shared processes accordingly."How safe, comfortable, and confident do you feel in your work organization? How well does your workplace support your curious urge to improve matters by simply asking questions? In her new book, Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson tackles this topic as a practical consideration, sharing careful research about the benefits that so-called “fearless organizations” generate through creating a climate of psychological safety. A lean reader would conclude that such conditions are essential requirements for individuals and teams to conduct experiments, test out improvement ideas, and form mutually agreed upon standards for best practice. She outlines ways to improve the climate so that people are really able to bring their best self to work and to improve their shared processes accordingly.
Everything I Know About Lean I Learned in First Grade
by Robert Martichenko
“Why, a four-year-old child could understand this report,” says Groucho Marx as Rufus T. Firefly in Duck Soup, quickly adding, “Run out and find me a four-year-old child, I can’t make head or tail of it.” Lean newcomers, here is your friendly four-year-old guide to the basics of lean.
One of LEI’s most popular titles, this lively story shares the key principles of lean by illustrating basic practices and principles as seen in the first grade classroom of the author’s daughter Abby. Everything I Know About Lean I Learned in First Grade book connects common lean tools to the broader lean journey, shows how to identify and eliminate waste, and aids the reader in seeing lean for what it truly is: a way to create a learning and problem-solving culture. It’s a fun, engaging way to familiarize readers with tangible applications of lean and to start experimenting on their own.
The Lean Bakery
by Juan Antonio Tena and Emi Castro
Quick and easy read. Entertaining story of a small bakery in Spain that learned how to run quick experiments with coaching from leadership. They were able to make improvements in the backend of the shop, such as moving from batch baking to flow; and in the front house as well, breaking up the work into areas and standards with flexibility for demand changes. Throughout their journey the authors detail how they identified and addressed problems as they arose, which enabled them to remove waste over time in their efforts to get ever closer to their customers. This book includes an example of their approach to lean problem-solving—complete with worksheets—and an invitation to run your own experiments.
by Robert Caro
Sure, the first thing that comes to mind when considering a short memoir by the author of a 1200-page biography of Robert Moses and a four-volume biography of LBJ is…lean. Well, maybe not the first thing. No matter. Caro’s book has much to offer lean thinkers. This is a short, elegant, reflection on the nature of work—of patient, careful, thoughtful practice, of masterful labor guided by a deep sense of purpose and a humble willingness to eschew simple answers or clichéd conclusions.
As a fast writer in college, Caro was admonished by one mentor: “Don’t think with your fingers”—a lesson on avoiding the human impulse to produce quick answers when a more thoughtful and patient grasping of the details would be far more productive over time. One editor’s advice to Caro to “read every page” when conducting research sounds like the guidance of a careful sensei seeking to learn every meaningful detail at the gemba. Moreover, Caro’s inspiring devotion to seeking the full story (he and his wife moved to Texas to deepen his understanding of LBJ’s career) before making sense of it, let alone writing his books, validates one key tenet of A3 thinking—that one should carefully and meticulously dive deep into details, unencumbered by unearned biases, in order to avoid fitting facts to pre-packaged conclusions.
So how about it, lean readers? What are you reading right now that you'd like others to dive into? Share your current picks below in the comments section and on twitter using #LeanSummerReading and we will hold a drawing to give away books to some of you.