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Josh Howell

Josh Howell

Senior Coach, Lean Enterprise Institute

Joshua Howell is senior coach, co-learning activities at the the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI). Howell was an architect and implementer of a lean operating system for retail stores at Starbucks Coffee Company, where he also created a team of coaches to facilitate and sustain the lean transformation globally. Among its improvements, the system improved the quality of products and experiences, increased product availability, and reduced waste in stores (eg. coffee waste). It was implemented in an innovative way, where managers had “problem solving experiences” to develop that critical capability.

As senior coach, Howell supports co-learning partnerships across a variety of sectors (retail, restaurants, manufacturing, financial services, etc.), develops hands-on learning experiences, and conducts research into the implementation of lean business systems. Howell holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.

Articles by Josh Howell
Lean Coffee-Inspired Coaching
Lean Coffee has been praised for making meetings more productive by giving all participants a say in creating an agenda that works for everyone. LEI Senior Coach Josh Howell recently chose to incorporate Lean Coffee principles into the 2017 Lean Coaching Summit, which he organized and hosted back in July. Here's how he did it and what we as coaches can learn from it. More »
Advice from the Gemba: TPS Mythbusting
Despite its fundamental role in a lean transformation, the Toyota Production System is not an easy thing for many to grasp. In this special installment of Advice from the Gemba, three of LEI's accomplished faculty discuss the most common misconceptions they hear about TPS from their workshop participants. More »
Big Problems? Start Small
"In problem solving, we’re taught to ask a simple question, “Is this problem within my scope of control?” If yes, then we go after it. If no, then we escalate it to the next level of management. But for that to happen, I’ve learned it’s sometimes necessary to engage frontline team members in thinking about their work (steps, stuff, and time involved for transformation per a customer need) first.  " More »
A More Prepared Coach
"Many coaching situations we enter.  ..  with so little knowledge about the situation and how things work," writes Josh Howell. "Instead we rely on our wits and our ability to “ask effective questions.  '" But neither wits nor questioning skills will guarantee a productive coaching session if you haven't taken time to prepare yourself. Read more. More »
Experimenting with LEI's Transformation Model
Josh Howell, senior coach at LEI, reflects on LEI's Lean Transformation Model. "We set out to better understand the model, its value, and its usefulness," he writes. "We did this by trying to incorporate it into everything that we do and through experimenting with you, our customers.  " More »
The Case for Lean Thinking in Retail and Service Organizations
Josh Howell, senior coach at LEI, recently joined Ron Pereira at Gemba Academy for podcast conversation on coaching, lean thinking for retail and service organizations, and what respect for people really means. Check out some of the highlights here. More »
Hanging Up My Cape
"Managers and front line workers hustle to work around problems resulting from poorly designed work systems.  .. and with such pride!" writes lean coach Josh Howell. While he remembers them fondly, read why Howell is long past his superhero days. More »
How to Fold a T-Shirt
Training Within Industry Job Instruction is a four-step method that teaches an individual how to do a job correctly, safely, and consistently while meeting all requirements. In this video, LEI senior coach Josh Howell demonstrates standardized training for standardized work. More »
Are You Playing Today’s Game or Yesterday’s?
Are your coaching sessions with your staff inspiring 3-pointers or are they all air? LEI coach Josh Howell has some tips on how to keep your head in the game. More »
Workshops Taught by Josh Howell
Understanding Lean Transformation Come explore the components of the Lean Transformation Model, see examples of what others are doing and reflect upon some potential gaps to close within your own organization. More »
Using Training Within Industry (TWI) Techniques for Rapid and Sustainable Problem Solving Join us for a workshop based on scientifically-proven Training Within Industry (TWI) techniques designed to help you and your team (and the organization) learn faster. More »