WLEI - Lean Enterprise Institute's Podcast

WLEI PodcastWLEI is the official podcast of the Lean Enterprise Institute.

You will hear stories from lean thought leaders, lean practitioners, and adjacent communities in various industries on many topics such as problem solving, coaching, leadership, meaningful work and more.

If you have a question you’d like answered on a future podcast, show feedback, or an idea you’d like to share, please send it to pod@lean.org.

(permalink) Making Lean Stick: A Podcast Conversation with Mark Deluzio, Art Byrne, and Jim Womack November 23, 2020
Featuring: Mark Deluzio, Art Byrne, Jim Womack, and Tom Ehrenfeld

The long-term success of companies like Danaher, Fortive, Herman Miller, Parker Hannifin and many others, have all validated the power of lean thinking and practice. But if that’s the case, why aren’t there more exemplars? And why do so many companies either intentionally misconstrue Lean, or fail to realize its full promise over time?

Long-time Lean veteran Mark Deluzio has recently published Flatlined: Why Lean Transformations Fail and What to Do About It. Join him, Art Byrne, Jim Womack and host Tom Ehrenfeld in a wide-ranging conversation about the ongoing gap between operations at most companies—and an ideal Lean state.

Be sure to download an edited transcript of their conversation here.

Some highlights from their conversation:

Art Byrne (9:00): “Lean is not a cost reduction program. It's a strategy. And it's really kind of a cultural mentality of how you look at the business.”

Jim Womack (11:56): “We’ve got way too many guys who went to business schools and learned how to do functional analysis and listen to Michael Porter about how to be competitive which is by avoiding competition. And so we get the mess we got…But not all is lost. I mean, I think the challenge for us right now is to think through what options we might have going forward.”

Mark Deluzio (20:00): “This is not a cost reduction program, but, if you do all the other ones right, cost falls out of this automatically. It’s just a by-product. The problem is when there's a maniacal focus on cost. And that's wrong, because you've got to drive the drivers of costs that will get you the cost that you want….This is about profitable growth, not about cost reduction.”

Art Byrne (24:50): “So I think one of the things that any company—and any CEO—has to do first, is you need to define: what is operational excellence going to be for you? And it's not a bunch of KPI type of measurements. It's not things like increased gross margin by three points or some goofy thing like that. It's what I call driver measures. The things that you think, if you do these things over the next five or 10 years, you will have a completely different company.”

“Stretch goals represent the Toyota respect for people principle, because by having stretch goals, what you're really saying is, "I believe that my people can do extraordinary things if we give them the right targets and assist them in learning how to implement those," as opposed to most people say, "I can't give my people those kinds of stretch goals. I'll lose them, they'll just go away. They'll think it's impossible."

Mark DeLuzio (31:43): “If you want to make change, I really do believe you have to challenge people. You cannot be afraid to not offend somebody. And you want to be respectful, but people will get offended, because you're calling them out on it.”

Jim Womack (37:35): “Line managers themselves would have to actually understand their process and they would have to actually engage with their superiors in a discussion of how to improve their process….this is not hope as a plan. We're not talking about hope here. We're talking about: what are you going to do? And we've created a whole continent and a whole generation of managers who don't know anything about their process.”

Mark Deluzio (40:00): “Awada told me six sigma was ‘no good.’ 3.4 parts per million. Why do you accept that? Why not? Why aren't you thinking about zero? ‘3.4, no good.’ You do the math on airplanes. If the airlines flew at six sigma, we'd have a crash every three days.”

Art Byrne (47:25): “I think of Lean as a time-based growth strategy, because what it does really is every time you remove waste, you shorten the time it takes to do anything.”


(permalink) Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn: A Conversation with Isao Yoshino and Katie Anderson on Experimentation and Learning October 26, 2020

“It’s only a failure if you don’t learn,” says Mr. Isao Yoshino, who shared many key lessons from his career at Toyota with Katie Anderson, who based her new book Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn on his experience and insights. Join us for a podcast with host Tom Ehrenfeld that explores the lessons gleaned from his career at Toyota. 

Download a complete transcript of the conversation here

(permalink) Becoming the Change with John Toussaint and Kim Barnas September 28, 2020

Lean has always promised great improvements for health care providers, but has there been a personal element that has been lacking to date? In this episode of WLEI, two healthcare giants, Kim Barnas and John Toussaint, will share a key insight from their new book Becoming the Change: they argue that personal transformation on the part of healthcare leaders plays a vital role in broader organizational change. Listen in for insights and advice on how to help your lean effort.

You can download a complete transcript of the conversation here: https://www.lean.org/Search/Documents/596.pdf


(permalink) Tapping Technology to Boost the Power of Lean: A Talk with Jeff Liker and Jim Morgan August 24, 2020
Featuring: Jeff Liker, Jim Morgan, Tom Ehrenfeld

Industry 4.0 is not a disruptive force that makes TPS irrelevant, but rather can be an enabler that builds on lean culture and thinking. What principles should lean companies prioritize as they introduce digital tools into their work? Lean thinkers Jeff Liker and Jim Morgan start with the basics of people, processes, and purpose. Listen in to their thoughts as they discuss the TPS-Industry 4.0 mashup with Host Tom Ehrenfeld in this latest episode of WLEI. 


You can read and download a complete transcript of the conversation here.  


(permalink) 5 Guiding Principles for Tailoring a Path to Lean Transformation July 27, 2020
Featuring: Alice Lee and Tom Ehrenfeld

Over the past five years, the Lean Global Network’s Lean Healthcare Initiative has carried out extensive research in eight hospitals across five countries, and recently published the white paper, "5 Guiding Principles to Transform Healthcare." In this podcast, LEI Senior Coach and white paper co-author Alice Lee shares insights into the research conducted by this group of “tailors” (individuals who saw patterns and helped identify how to apply them). She expands on the five guiding principles they developed and explains how these insights were gleaned from healthcare organizations. The principles provide guidance for any chief architect in any organization looking for traction with their lean work.  

You can download a free copy of the paper here 

Download a transcript of the conversation here. 

Lean Summit SpeakersLearn from top healthcare leaders who are transforming their organizations through lean thinking and practice, including,

    • Lisa Yerian, MD, Chief Improvement Officer at the Cleveland Clinic, and John Shook, senior advisor to the Lean Enterprise Institute 
    • Kimberly Eng, Chief Operating Officer, Lynn Community Health Center, and Kiame Mahaniah, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Lynn Community Health Center 
    • Jack Billi, MD, Medical Director, Collaborative Quality Initiatives, and Professor of Medicine, Public Health, and Engineering, University of Michigan
    • Carlos Frederico Pinto, M.D. (aka Dr. Fred); CEO; Instituto de Oncologia do Vale (IOV)

Get more details about and register for the Virtual Lean Learning Experience 2020.




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