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Lean Transformation Pre-Summit Workshops

For those who want to make most of this opportunity, LEI is offering Pre-Summit Workshops on March 3rd-4th. These in-depth programs will help you move beyond individual "tools" and isolated improvement projects to build leadership capabilities and develop management skills needed to create the complete lean enterprise and the culture of problem solving. There is a 25% discount on Pre-Summit Workshops* for Summit attendees.

Breakfast is served daily at 7:00 AM and workshops begin at 8:00 AM.

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Pre-Summit Workshops:


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Pre-Summit Workshops

Managing Kaizen Events(Sold Out)

2-Day Workshop
March 3rd - 4th
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Price: $1600
($1200 for Summit attendees)


Mark Hamel Mark Hamel

Effective kaizen events are often a prerequisite for a successful lean transformation. They provide the necessary momentum, organizational learning and engagement, along with sustainable, step/function improvements. The systemic use of kaizen events establishes the technical and cultural foundation for principle-driven kaizen -- the powerful combination of kaizen events and daily kaizen activities.

Regrettably, many organizations suffer from one or more of the following event malpractice symptoms:

  • Little or no measurable business impact
  • Poor linkage to strategic and value-stream imperatives
  • Unsustainable results
  • Unfavorable employee experience
  • Limited organizational learning and growth
  • Insufficient foundation for daily kaizen

This two-day workshop is designed to give participants critical insight into the principles, tools, and techniques that drive effective kaizen events.

Learning Objectives: 
At the end of this workshop, you will understand:

  • The foundation and framework of kaizen
  • The lean leader's role in kaizen
  • How to ensure that kaizen events are "pulled" by what matters (value-stream improvement plans, strategy deployment, etc.)
  • How to effectively pre-plan kaizen events
  • The kaizen event sequence, the seven basic elements, and how to successfully apply them:
  • Kick-off
  • Pre-event training
  • Kaizen "storyline"
  • Team leader meeting process
  • Kaizen work strategy
  • Report-out
  • Recognition and Celebration
  • How to sustain kaizen gains through post-event follow-through and leader standard work
  • How to develop and deploy the Lean Function – structure, role/responsibility, key result areas, core and technical competencies
  • Understanding the transition from system-driven kaizen to principle-driven kaizen and how to get there

Course Outline:
The workshop is comprised of instruction, discussion, gemba walks, gemba tales (a.k.a. war stories), small-group exercises around pre-event planning, including event selection/scoping, team composition and initial strategy formulation, as well as the review of the host company's kaizen event management. The topics covered are:

  • Why Drive-by Kaizen Events Are Not Effective…and How to Avoid Them
  • Kaizen Event Execution and Sustainability - Beyond "Just Do It"
  • The Lean Function and the Transition to Daily Kaizen

Who Should Attend:
Those who would benefit from this workshop include:

  • Kaizen practitioners/facilitators in the kaizen promotion office (a.k.a the "lean function")
  • Lean leaders – value-stream managers, executives, lean steering committee members, etc.


The Lean Management System(Sold Out)

1-Day Workshop
March 4th
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Price: $800
($600 for Summit attendees)


Joe Murli Joe Murli

This one-day course is an overview of the elements that comprise the Lean Management System. Additionally we will  examine how they work together to create a system of continuous improvement through collaborative problem solving.

Lean organizations depend of developing the problem solving capabilities of the entire workforce allocating specific categories of problems to each layer of the organization. While there is still a need for deep expertise in specialty departments the emphasis is on the performance of the entire value stream and the customer which it serves. Leadership in this type of organization is less focused on being the problem solver and more focused on coaching the problem solving capability of the workforce. While traditional organizations delegate problem solving within 10-20% of the workforce, lean organizations endeavor to have the entire organization actively engaged in problem solving.

The course is structured as repetitive cycles of Learn-See-Do. First we will teach a principle, then you will see how this principle is put into practice in three sectors; manufacturing, office & services, and healthcare. After that the class will participate in implementing the principle at Whishmaker, Inc. (a generic company created to illustrate the application of principles to a business) fulfilling the "do" cycle.

We will repeat these Learn-See-Do cycles until each element is covered and then examine how the pieces work together to support a problem-solving culture typical of a mature lean organization

Course Outline:

  • Characteristics of Lean organizations, the target condition
  • Summary overview of the Lean Management System, the conditions under which it was developed, and overview of contemporary mature examples in various segments
  • Deep dive into each element of the Lean Management System
    • Standard work
    • Visual management
    • People development
    • Leader standard work and coaching behaviors
    • Follow up/accountability processes
  • An examination of how the elements work together to build the culture of continuous improvement


  • You will understand how to go beyond the application of lean tools and create an organization that embodies the culture of continuously improving customer value and eliminating waste
  • You will learn how to distill the elements that have made you a successful leader and disseminate these skills throughout the entire workforce leveraging capability
  • You will recognize how to unlock the potential demonstrated in the islands of improvement in your company and tie them together into an entire value stream of people focused on improving flow each and every day
  • As a leader in your organization, you will learn what you have to do to personally engage in the lean transformation process, beyond delegation and project management, so that performance improvements don't plateau and true cultural transformation takes place

Who Should Attend
Leaders at any level of the organization from front line Team Leader to CEO.
Intact teams encompassing a cross-section of leadership in your company are especially effective.


A3 Thinking: Managing to Learn

2-Day Workshop
March 3rd - 4th
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Price: $1600
($1200 for Summit attendees)


Tracy Richardson Tracey Richardson

The purpose of this workshop is to explore the lessons and insights of Managing to Learn from four perspectives.

Note: each participant will receive a copy of Managing to Learn.

First participants will explore the requirements of sound A3 thinking and management by following the stages of learning illustrated in Managing To Learn (MTL). MTL describes how a young manager learns to handle a significant problem-solving responsibility by creating an A3 that earns him the authority to address the problem in the ways he proposes. This occurs as he is coached on his problem solving and A3 thinking by his boss and mentor. He steadily uses the knowledge he is learning to revise his initial "jump-to-a-solution" A3 into an effective PDCA story. Participants will examine how the A3 changes with each revision, what the young manager has learned about the A3 thinking, the A3 process that he applies in each revision, and what the course of his development indicates about the deep problem-solving focus that characterizes lean thinking.

Second participants will have the opportunity to develop their own eyes and ears to recognize effective A3 stories. They will describe the problem-solving thinking that is required in each section of the A3 for the PDCA story it tells to be effective. Participants will read several A3s and discuss how they would coach the authors to improve them. They will then be given final versions of the A3s and asked to determine if they are more effective and why they are more effective than the originals.

Third participants will create the Title, Background, Current Situation, Goal, Analysis, and Recommendations sections of an A3 for a problem-solving responsibility in their own work. Participants are asked to bring real A3s they are already working on for this exercise, or they may begin a new one during the class. They will work in small groups to read, discuss, and evaluate each other's A3s. They will coach each other as authors of their respective A3s offering guidance to consider ways their PDCA stories could be improved.

Fourth participants will learn various forms and uses of the A3 format. Examples from Managing to Learn will be highlighted, along with others. Topics that will be examined include:

  • Basic types of A3 stories and how the format differs for each
  • Role that A3 plays in the nemawashi process for gaining alignment with the stakeholders in a problem situation and seeking their agreement to proceed with the countermeasures or improvements being proposed
  • Ways that A3 functions as a change management tool, a general management tool, a human development tool and a knowledge sharing tool

Through instruction, small group discussions and exercises, the workshop participants will:

  • Learn the basic formats of A3s and uses of the A3 as a management process
  • Gain experience in the three basic roles of the A3 process
    • Writing an A3 (Author/Owner)
    • Reading A3s (Responder)
    • Coaching others about their own A3s (Coach)

Who should attend:

  • Any manager who wishes to improve his or her organization
  • Any manager who wishes to lead and manage his or her organization more effectively
  • Change agents, lean promotion office managers, and specialists
  • HR and OD professionals who wish to seek more effective means to deeply improve the thinking, behavior, alignment, and performance of their organization and the people in it
  • Senior executives who wish to improve their abilities to lead and manage


Leading In A Continuous Improvement Culture: Engaging And Coaching Problem Solving Thinkers(Sold Out)

2-Day Workshop
March 3rd-4th
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Price: $1600
($1200 for Summit attendees)


David Verble David Verble

This workshop is for lean managers or those responsible for supporting or developing lean managers. This workshop addresses the challenges leaders face in making the transition from a culture in which problem solving is the job of a few to one that fosters and enables continuous problem solving and improvement efforts at all levels.

Workshop Outline:
This workshop explores topics relative to leadership practices, values, assumptions and behaviors:

  • The link between problem solving and continuous improvement
  • The importance of engaging employees in meaningful responsibilities and the meaning of 'respect for employees' in a lean environment
  • The nature of a true problem solving culture
  • A comparison of the lean culture of continuous improvement and North American efforts to create one
  • Completion and discussion of an assessment of company problem solving culture
  • An exercise to examine our problem solving habits and ways leaders can model and enhance them
  • A review of the kind of problem solving required to build the culture of continuous improvement
  • Leader role and skills for engaging and developing employees as problem solvers
  • Ways to be helpful as a lean leader without being the expert
  • Questioning techniques that prompt a thorough grasp of a problem situation and force reflection on causes
  • Techniques for responding to requests for help from employees that develop problem solving thinking without taking away responsibility
  • Ways to leads discussions of problem situations and assignments with employees that promote development of job-handling capability
  • Techniques to help others sort through the "noise" in a problem situation and focus on the real problem they want or need to address

Workshop activities will include:

  • Short presentations
  • Small and full group discussions
  • Short readings
  • Group and individual exercises
  • Case situations
  • Skill practices with feedback

Expected Outcomes:
Participants should expect to grasp perspectives, concepts, and values that will help them define the purpose, practices and requirements of a problem solving culture.
They will learn how to support the role recognition by employees at any level.
They will also gain skills and techniques that can be used on a daily basis to help them develop problem solving thinking of their employees.


Improvement Kata/Coaching Kata(Sold Out)

2-Day Workshop
March 3rd - 4th
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Price: $1600
($1200 for Summit attendees)


Beth Carrington Beth Carrington

Bill Costantino Bill Costantino

What is a Kata?
A kata is a pattern you practice to learn a skill and mindset. Through practice the pattern of a kata becomes second nature - done with little conscious attention - and readily available. Examples are riding a bicycle, driving a car, typing. People who have learned to drive don't think much about using the car's controls. They focus on navigating the road ahead.

What is the Improvement Kata?
Ask yourself: What patterns of thought and action do we practice and reinforce every day in our organization?

The pattern of the improvement kata is a fundamental pattern for improving, adapting and innovating. The improvement kata is scientific, goal-directed working, not random hunting for opportunities or disconnected reaction to problems. Practicing it helps us get better at meeting challenges in business and in many other endeavors. Think of the improvement kata as a "meta-habit" that aims to change our mental operating system so our human capabilities come to greater fruition.

The improvement kata is the context within which lean tools are intended to be applied. Without it you won't get continuous improvement. In the lean environment, the improvement kata pattern is reinforced in daily management, daily problem solving, quality circles, improvement events & A3s. A version of the improvement-kata pattern is embedded in each of these activities.

The overall goal, as with any kata, is to make the pattern and mindset of the improvement kata an autonomic habit. This happens through deliberate, coached practice in daily work.

This program introduces the concepts of the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata in an engaging hands-on format helping attendees learn how to apply them in their organizations to create the culture of continuous improvement and learning.

Kata Creates Culture from Mike Rother

What can I expect to learn?
The Improvement Kata impacts your organization by:

  • Providing a systematic, scientific routine that can be applied to any goal
  • Commonizing how the members of an organization navigate uncertainty and develop solutions
  • Migrating managers toward a role of coach and mentor, by teaching them to conduct coaching cycles
  • Actualizing PDCA in a way that has people learning from small steps every day

Program Outline:

Days 1 and 2: Practice with the Improvement Kata & Coaching Kata 
Days 1-2 of the Improvement Kata Workshop use an iterative combination of "Presentation > Experiential Exercise > Discussion" to provide you with initial first-hand experience with the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata. Participants will better understand what is involved in deploying lean-style improvement-skill development and how to do it every day in their organizations.

You will:

  • Recognize two different mindsets that drive behaviors and form the foundation of an organization's culture… one continuously improving, one only occasionally improving
  • Understand hands-on coaching and practice routines that create greater improvement skills and an exploratory mindset -- foundation of continuous improvement, adaptation and innovation
  • Recognize the role of leaders and, especially, line managers in creating a deliberate culture of continuous improvement

Learning Blocks:

  • PART I: The Improvement Kata Mindset.
    A deep look at the thought and behavior patterns lean organizations practice as they go about their daily routines, and how they shape their organizations' culture and the ability to adapt and continuously improve.
  • PART II: Hands-On Practice with the Improvement Kata (A).
    Focus = Grasp the Current Condition and establish the Next Target Condition
  • PART III: Hands-On Practice with the Improvement Kata (B)
    Focus = PDCA and the Coaching Kata / 5 Questions
  • PART IV: Deploying the Improvement Kata in Your Organization

Who should attend?

  • Managers who want to lead and manage more effectively in today's environment.
  • Lean specialists and consultants who want to acquire new skills and learn what their role will be.
  • HR and OD professionals charged with Leadership Development and involving more of their organization's people in improvement, adaptation and innovation.
  • Leaders who want more clarity about what their management teams should be doing in order to achieve competitive advantage in today's markets.
  • Value Stream Mappers who want a systematic way of really achieving their future-state designs.

For culture-change through skill development, it's managers and leaders who should develop familiarity with the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata -- via practice -- ahead of others in the organization!


Hoshin Planning and Alignment

1-Day Workshop
March 3rd
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Price: $800
($600 for Summit attendees)


Mark ReichMark Reich

Many organizations struggle with how to best engage the workforce to an aligned direction that ensures business viability. In most cases upper management understands that it has responsibility to connect the company's people to the purpose of the organization. But how do you do that effectively? How can managers build the culture of an organization where management is purposeful in its approach?

Hoshin planning is a management system that aligns – both vertically and horizontally – an organization's functions and activities with its strategic objectives.

Hoshin planning is also ideally a process that releases creativity in each Team Member as goals are developed in a dynamic, catch-ball process that involves a dialogue between each level of management about annual corporate objectives.  This engaged dialogue promotes the capability of the organization to manage based on purpose.

This workshop will help leaders understand Hoshin Planning as a core process for defining and creating annual objectives and developing people based on those objectives.

This workshop will also clarify how Hoshin Planning (also referred to as strategy deployment) can be utilized to define a clear strategic framework that can strengthen an organization through enabling sustained high performance and produces long-term results. 

Finally, this workshop will clarify the relationship of hoshin planning (which functions like the skeleton) to A3 problem solving(which functions like the muscle).

Workshop Topics:
a) Discuss fundamental framework for hoshin.
b) Clarify conditions for successful execution of hoshin planning and alignment in an organization based on case study.
c) Develop initial plan to implement hoshin kanri in your own organization.
d) See how to build structure of PDCA at individual and corporate levels.
e) Understand how hoshin planning connects to A3 problem solving.

Who should attend:
Lean leaders, managers, and executives involved with strategy deployment


Lean Upstream

1-Day Workshop
March 4th
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Price: $800
($600 for Summit attendees)


Durward SobekDurward Sobek

Jim MorganJim Morgan

New products and services are the lifeblood of most companies.  Without new products, existing offerings become stale or obsolete as markets shift, customer needs or tastes change, and competitors appear.  And if products are not renewed, the company does not survive.  No amount of shop floor kaizen can change that.  At the same time, the greatest opportunity to create value for customers is in the early stages of the product lifecycle-- the design and development of the product and the processes required to produce it-- before it reaches the production floor.  Therefore tremendous opportunity exists in most companies to enhance their competitiveness by shortening time-to-market, improving design quality and cost, and doing so efficiently and reliably. 

This one-day interactive session is designed to give participants critical insight into applying lean thinking upstream in the product lifecycle.  Content will be organized around foundational principles, illustrated by examples from the Ford Motor Company whose legendary turnaround in recent years owes much to the transformation of their product development capability.

Learning Objectives: 
By the end of the workshop, participants will:

  • Be able to define lean product and process development (LPPD).
  • Understand five foundational principles of LPPD.
  • Explain how the principles work together to achieve the primary aims of the new product development function.
  • Understand how companies can resolve the paradox of enhancing innovation while consistently introducing new products on schedule and under budget.
  • Gain exposure to how the principles can be translated to action.

Course Outline:
The workshop is comprised of instruction, interactive discussion, and case examples.  The primary topics covered include:

  • Fundamental purpose of product / process development
  • The LAMDA cycle of learning
  • Growing teams of responsible experts
  • Entrepreneurial system designers
  • Pull, flow and cadence in product / process development
  • Set-based innovation
  • Case study of Ford Body and Stamping Engineering

Who Should Attend:

  • R&D executives
  • Product development project managers
  • Managers of any R&D function (marketing, design, product engineering, manufacturing engineering, etc.)
  • Change agents within any R&D function
  • Change agents wanting to expand lean beyond the shop floor