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Dave LaHote

Dave LaHote

Faculty Member, Lean Enterprise Institute

Dave LaHote is a retired senior executive who is currently an educator and advisor to organizations making the lean leap. From 2006 to 2011, Dave served as the president, Lean Education, for the Lean Enterprise Institute in Cambridge, MA.

Dave came to LEI with over 35 years of experience in manufacturing and service companies. Dave ran business units in Parker Hannifin, Eaton, and Aeroquip-Vickers Corporation and previously held senior management positions in marketing, business development, and human resources. He is a "shop rat" having grown up in the family manufacturing business. In the early 1990's he was responsible for  lean implementation across a diverse $2 billion manufacturing company and began his long-term relationship with Jim Womack, founder and chairman of LEI.

Dave has taught executive education classes on a wide variety of lean manufacturing, strategy development and management topics. He is currently on the faculty of the University of Michigan's Lean Healthcare program and has been a part of Ohio State University's Masters in Operational Excellence program.

Dave holds a bachelor's degree in liberal arts and a master's degree in Organizational Development from Bowling Green State University

Articles by Dave LaHote
The Humble Learner
“Try to do every task better today than we did yesterday”. More importantly, the guidance and technical assistance from Inoac and later Toyota helped us learn to become a good supplier who made money. In only a couple of years the plant went from being on the closure list to one of our most profitable. At the heart of this change was our Sensi Mr. Nakane. Always teaching by going to see, asking why and always showing respect. It was the combination of the lean tools with lean thinking that helped us build a successful organization over time. More »
Creating Trust: The Role of the Supervisor as Coach
"Organizationally, I believe that the coaching role needs to be fulfilled by the supervisor," writes Dave LaHote. But all too often, LaHote has found a misconception in this role that can undermine a coaching relationship. Watch his animated video to learn more. More »
Lean in One Drawing
LEI faculty member, Dave Lahote, shares his concept of thinking about lean as a system and to demonstrate the linkage between lean tools and how the system can create organizational advantage. More »
Continuous Improvement is Good, But Is It Lean?
Take a look at your organization. Is Lean clearly directed and connected to strategy? Are senior leaders directly involved in specifying the process improvements needed? Will the process improvements you are focused on improve help you provide value to your end customers? More »
What Strategy Is and What It's Not
"In my career, I was always more interested in what it would take to create and sustain competitive advantage than just doing good things," writes Dave LaHote. "What I observed was that a lack of strategy elegantly deployed was still lack of strategy.  ..  " Read more. More »
Why Effective Problem Solving Begins With a Good Problem Statement
"Let’s solve world peace" or "let’s state our predetermined solution as a problem" aren't real problem statements, says Dave LaHote. Read why a good problem statement is so important, why it's harder than you think to come up with one, and learn how to write a better one. More »
What Experience Tells Me About How Change Happens
Dave LaHote reflects on his earliest experiences learning lean thinking and practice. "We all became increasingly better at making improvements and solving problems using simple, common sense, everyday tools," he writes. "This became the way we did work, not some extra work to do.  " More »
Keep It Simple: Value Stream Map at the Gemba
Sometimes we build value stream mapping up to be a much bigger process than it needs to be, forgetting to include key people in the mapping process. Dave LaHote shares a story of how powerful value stream mapping can be when it's used well. More »
Say Goodbye to the Report Out
"If we want to improve coaching, let’s build the requirement for it into the daily management process," writes Dave LaHote. "Change the process from reporting upward to asking downward.  " More »
Gemba Walks: Are You Going To See or To Be Seen?
"Supervisors talked about the significant improvements they were making as a result of kaizen events," writes Dave LaHote, "But all I noticed was workers trying to keep up with a production process that looked out of sync, plagued by problems that got in the way of them being able to perform their jobs well.  " Read more. More »
Improvement for the Sake of Improvement Means Nothing
"We need to dig deep to understand why we do what we do and question whether it really provides value to anyone.  " Read the story of how one company found itself trying to improve a process that shouldn't have existed in the first place. More »
The A3 as a PDCA Storyboard
Thanks to Dave LaHote for sharing this PowerPoint that explains what an A3 is and how it can be used. This presentation was designed for using A3s to report on changes made as a result of kaizens or team problem solving. More »
Workshops Taught by Dave LaHote
Gemba Walks - A Management Process for Leading the Organization This opening paragraph of the introduction of Jim Womack’s latest book, "Gemba Walks," is the starting point for a gemba-based learning experience designed to help participants better understand their role in creating lean thinking through lean management led by their own behavior in “taking a walk.  ” More »
Key Concepts of Lean Designed for individuals and teams that want to gain a better understanding of the components and underlying philosophy of lean, based on the Toyota Production System (TPS), and how the elements and philosophy work together to create a Lean Enterprise. 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. The program will further address the roles, responsibilities and competencies of senior leaders that support the implementation of lean. More »