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Tom Ehrenfeld

Tom Ehrenfeld

Senior Editor

Tom Ehrenfeld is a writer and editor living in Cambridge, MA. A former writer/editor with Inc. Magazine and Harvard Business Review, he is the author of The Startup Garden: How Growing A Business Grows You. He works as a consulting editor for LEI and with many other lean authors. Seven of his edited books have won the Shingo Research Award.

Articles by Tom Ehrenfeld
Reflections From Ten Years of Michael Ballé's Gemba Coach
Since his first Gemba Coach column of ten years ago, Michael Balle has consistently tied his advice to a faithful application of core Toyota Production System (TPS) principles, without demanding a mindless conformity to established practices or to commercialized frameworks, models, or any other packaging of the TPS dynamics as a product. More »
Did Red Sox Lean on Lean for World Series Victory?
For starters (and for that matter, for relievers), this World-Series-winning Red Sox team was simply an outstanding and absurdly talented team from top to bottom. And yet talent only gets you so far. Great teams make one another better, and I think this applied to this group of athletes whose success underscore a few simple Lean principles More »
Lean Lessons from Tesla
This piece throws no shade at Tesla, a company that serves as a highly-charged conduit for many a heated debate about the future of manufacturing, mobility, innovation, modern business models, and, what, space travel. Rather, here are a few lean principles that Tesla's tale calls to mind. More »
Lean Roundup: Respect for People
Respect for People is one of the most abstract and yet most concrete tenets of lean, a guiding principle that informs how people work, coach, and lead. This roundup of writings reveals a wealth of perspectives on how lean thinkers convert this ideal into tangible ways of thinking and acting. More »
Is there a crack in the model of continuous improvement?
Is this a case of déjà vu all over again? The Wall Street Journal says the sterling reputation of “Japanese manufacturing” or kaizen, is tarnished in the wake of several quality inspection scandals. But is this a kaizen crisis or a kaizen kerfuffle that we’ve experienced before? Editor Tom Ehrenfeld sorts it out. More »
Lean Roundup: Lean in the News
"While few business leaders seem to be discussing lean explicitly these days, there are certainly a great deal of tangentially lean conversations happening wherever you look," writes LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld. Particularly in the news - read more. More »
Lean Roundup: Pull
A pull system links all production activity to actual customer demand--and creates what one lean thinker calls "an architecture for kaizen.  " Read more about this key lean principle. More »
Lean Roundup: 5S
LEI's Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld provides an engaging insight into the web's best resources on 5S, a fundamental lean tool that was the first many of us ever used when we started our lean journeys. More »
Lean Roundup: Continuous Problem-Solving
Continuing his popular Lean Roundup series, LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld covers a key topic in lean circles that also happens to be a key theme at the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit: continuous problem solving. More »
Lean Books Roundup
"Several years back, LEI CEO John Shook discussed the need to explore the “frontiers and fundamentals” of lean.  ..  " writes Tom Ehrenfeld. "Three recent books reveal surprising and satisfying ways that these new boundaries are emerging.  " Read more. More »
Lean Roundup: Jidoka
"Jidoka captures the principle of building quality into the production process—of designing work so that the people making the product have the means and mindset to be constantly vigilant for what is okay and what is not. By attacking waste at the source, jidoka starkly contrasts with an unfortunately-too-common approach of hiding flaws, passing them down the line, and relying on someone else to fix problems far from their source.  " More »
Lean Thinking: A Roundup
In honor of the 20th anniversary of the publishing of Lean Thinking, by Jim Womack and Dan Jones, Lean Post Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld presents a roundup of the book, its history and its impact on the lean community. More »
A3 Thinking Roundup
Following last week's immensely popular Posts on the origins of A3 thinking, LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld compiles a collection of the very best reads on A3 thinking, from the Lean Post and beyond. More »
Standard Work Roundup
Several terrific articles have appeared recently, emphasizing the importance and complexity of a key lean practice: standard (or standardized) work, which we’ll call SW. So we decided to bundle them into a broader roundup of key pieces about this essential practice. More »
What the Best Lean Leaders All Have in Common
What characterizes a truly exceptional lean leader? With years of first-hand observations behind him, Tom Ehrenfeld weighs in with his thoughts. More »
The Secrets of Lean
"The key to Lean is that it creates understanding, not knowledge," write John Ehrenfeld (Executive Director of the International Society for Industrial Ecology) and LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld. "One difficulty in successful implementation of lean systems is that managers conflate these two important concepts.  " Read more. More »
Highlights from the Lean Transformation Summit 2015, Day 2
On Wednesday and Thursday this week, we'll be live blogging the 2015 Lean Transformation Summit in New Orleans. Visit lean.  org for the complete agenda and check back here periodically for updates from Summit talks and learning sessions. More »
Highlights from the Lean Transformation Summit 2015
On Wednesday and Thursday this week, we'll be live blogging the 2015 Lean Transformation Summit in New Orleans. Visit lean.  org for the complete agenda and check back here periodically for updates from Summit talks and learning sessions. More »
Book Value: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Is clutter at work or at home getting you down? LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld reviews Marie Kondo's new book, "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and reflects on what it can teach us about lean practice. "The point is not to be tidy as endgame," he writes. "The point is to tidy up in order to get to where you want to go.  " More »
Summer Reading
LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld picks his favorite lean books you might want to take to the beach with you this summer. More »
Live Blogging the Lean Transformation Summit, Day 2
LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld continues his live blog of the Lean Transformation Summit, happening now in Orlando! More »
Live Blogging the Lean Transformation Summit, Day 1
Unable to join us in Orlando? Check back here periodically throughout the day to follow Summit content here on The Lean Post. More »
Super Bowl 2014: It's All About the Coaching
LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld gets ready for the super bowl the only way he knows how: looking for lean metaphors and lessons from sports. More »
What's Your Lean Elevator Pitch?
How do you describe Lean to others? To beginners, your team members, your boss? What's your quick definition or elevator pitch? More »
Lean Writing Has a Gemba
What makes for good (lean) writing? What kind of writing are we looking for on The Lean Post? LEI senior editor Tom Ehrenfeld chimes in. More »
Such a Fine Line Between Stupid and Clever
Lean thinking, principles, and experiments show up everywhere and make a real difference, sometimes in places you'd least expect. More »
Abbreviated Study Guide for The Gold Mine audiobook
This guide contains excerpts of A Leader's Study Guide to The Gold Mine. Thought-provoking discussion questions and resources for further reading are included for each chapter to help listeners of the audiobook better understand lean as a system and how they can implement to tools in their own organization. More »
Books by Tom Ehrenfeld
The Gold Mine Trilogy Study Guide The Gold Mine Trilogy Study Guide
A way for teams to improve their lean practice together through reflection on the Ballé novel trilogy: The Gold Mine, The Lean Manager, Lead With Respect More »