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New Lean Management Novel Explains How to Develop Business by Developing People

In Lead With Respect,the just-published business novel from the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute, authors Michael and Freddy Ballé,vividly and powerfully show business leaders how to use lean management to develop people and the business simultaneously.

The authors, who also are lean practitioners, introduce readers to CEO Jane Delaney, who must change her own behaviors to create a problem-solving culture. The authors show that respect for people is not a soft or sentimental ploy. To improve the business, Delaney must improve processes, to improve processes she must improve people’s competencies, because if her people get better at what they do, the processes they come up with can’t be copied by the competition. Readers learn:

  • How to adapt new attitudes that develop a sustainable continuous improvement culture.
  • Seven specific steps to follow to make lean leadership behaviors daily habits.
  • How to encourage initiative and creativity from employees.
  • Why some leaders will never “get” lean management.
  • How to manage with respect through the conflict, tension, emotion, and self-doubt that leaders face during a lean transformation.

“Respect for people is often mistaken for establishing a democratic workplace in which everyone is treated with great deference and politically correct politeness,” said John Shook, LEI chairman and CEO. “Respect really means that we challenge each other to be the best we can be by fully developing our uniquely human capability to solve problems.”

Lead With Respect: A Novel of Lean Practice

  • Authors: Freddy Ballé and Michael Ballé
  • Publisher: Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc.
  • ISBN: 978-1-934109-47-2
  • Pages: 228
  • Price: $30
  • “Respect” is the third volume in the practical, lively, and award-winning series of Ballé business novels that includes The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager.


For review copies of Lead With Respect or to interview the authors, contact LEI Communications Director Chet Marchwinski cmarchwinski@lean.org or 617- 871-2930.

About the Authors

Michael Ballé, PhD, is a business writer and executive coach, who has studied lean transformations for 20 years. With his father Freddy, he coaches CEOs and senior executives in using lean to radically improve their businesses' performance and establish lean culture. He writes the Gemba Coach column on lean.org/balle

Freddy Ballé started visiting Toyota plants in Japan in the mid-1970s while head of product planning and later manufacturing engineering at Renault, where he worked for 30 years. Upon leaving Renault, he pioneered the full lean system implementation at Valeo as Technical Vice President, then at Sommer-Allibert as CEO, and later at Faurecia as Technical Vice President.

About the Lean Enterprise Institute

Lean Enterprise Institute Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, makes things better through lean research, education, publishing, and conferences. Guided by a mission to advance lean thinking and practice around the world, LEI also supports other lean initiatives such as the Lean Global Network, the Lean Education Academic Network, and the Healthcare Value Network. Visit LEI at https://www.lean.org for more information.