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Purpose, Process, People
By: Shook, John | March 30, 2009
Columns; eLetters
Dr. Womack’s simple construct to analyze companies – Purpose, Process, People – is familiar to you by now. I’ve toyed with it more and more since he first brought it up during informal discussions of the “LEI point of view” and his subsequent introduction of it in his e-letter of June 2006.  I used it in my column to explore the question I often get of “Why didn’t GM learn from NUMMI?” My answer to that question remains that GM actually learned far, far more than most people realize about process but didn’t get very far with the people part. More »
Purpose, Process, People
By: Womack, Jim | June 12, 2006
Columns; eLetters
Recently I have heard from several members of the Lean Community wanting to know how to evaluate the lean efforts of their company. “How do we know how lean we are?” “What metrics should we use to measure our progress?” “Are we ‘world-class’ in terms of lean?” (Whatever ‘world-class’ is!) Because I’ve been getting calls of this type for years and they seem to keep coming, let me share my answer. More »
Create Constancy of Purpose
By: James P. Womack | April 12, 2021
Columns
Looking back on the admirable work of two lean leaders who established constancy of purpose, Jim Womack asks: what would have happened to the world economy if every plant manager and controller had had their constancy of purpose to completely transform an entire management and business system? More »
Planning the Purposeful Turnaround
By: Josh Howell | January 19, 2021
Columns
The capability to repurpose, and then to redesign and retool, is critically important in these challenging times, says Josh Howell, who adds: I hope you have enough cash and the built-in capability to learn what’s needed for a successful turnaround. More »
Lean Financial Planning – How well does your budget serve its purpose?
By: Mike De Luca | December 11, 2019
Articles
How well does your budget serve its purpose? Asking this question can lead to a rich and revealing discussion with operational and finance teams alike. In order to gauge the effectiveness of the budget (both the process and the set of outputs or tools), we likely need to start by agreeing what effectiveness is measured relative to. What is the purpose of the budget? Why do we engage in the budget process and produce the outputs it generates? How do we use the budget during the year to check-adjust performance? Who are the end-users of the budget and what are their requirements? More »
Towards A More Lean Statement of Purpose
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | September 11, 2019
Columns
Reflecting on a recent Business Roundtable statement pledging a commitment to all of its stakeholders (and not simply maximizing shareholder value, Orry Fiume reminds us how core Lean values overlap with this new stated mission. More »
How Purpose Shapes Culture
By: Richard Sheridan | April 17, 2019
Columns
A purpose-driven culture is hard to build, says CEO Rich Sheridan of Menlo Innovations. It takes time. You will suffer setbacks, you will be mocked until everyone says what you do is just obvious, and some people will expect immediate results while you are rebuilding the airplane you’re flying in. Remember that you’re doing it for the right reasons. And it will result in joy. More »
Repurpose Before You Restructure
By: Womack, Jim | April 9, 2009
Columns; eLetters
One of my favorite questions when meeting with senior leaders of enterprises is, "What is your organization's purpose?" More »
Constancy of Purpose
By: Womack, Jim | February 11, 2009
Columns; eLetters
The first of Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s 14 Points is "create constancy of purpose for continual improvement of products and service to society.  " When I first read this many years ago it seemed so simple and obvious. How could anyone not have constancy of purpose?  Now that I'm older and wiser, or at least older, I have discovered that this simple attitude is often the missing element when managers set out to create a lean enterprise. More »
Problem Solving to Align Purpose, Process and People
Workshops
This is an expanded version of our 1-day Lean Problem Solving workshop which is offered exclusively in our office in Cambridge, MA. More »
Who, or What, Is Your Company Investing In?
By: Josh Howell | April 20, 2021
Columns
After reviewing the stellar work by a frontline supervisor who improved the problem of rotisserie chicken running out of stock, Josh Howell asked: will technology work for your people, or the other way around? More »
Lean Roundup: How Hoshin Kanri Creates a "Line of Sight"
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | April 19, 2021
Columns
"Like anything that is essential to lean, one must understand how hoshin kanri works from the very detailed, elemental levels of the work of the business.  " This article by Tom Ehrenfeld expands on this John Shook, drawing from LEI articles to show how hoshin kanri creates a "line of sight" between one's work and the broader company purpose. More »
Once More: What is Strategy Deployment, and Why Should You Care?
By: Pascal Dennis | March 24, 2021
Columns
Strategy deployment helps keep lean practitioners focused on the prize—creating value for the customer, says Pascal Dennis in the foreword to his Getting the Right Things Done book. Strategy deployment, also known as hoshin kanri, aligns, focuses, and engages our team members. More »
Why Lean Thinkers Should Ground Their Work in Sustainability
By: Gary Cundill and Rose Heathcote | February 25, 2021
Columns
There's a solid case for implementing green thinking just as there's one for implementing lean thinking. The challenge, but more importantly the opportunity for business, lies in bringing them together, write Rose Heathcote and Gary Cundill. More »
Steady Work Shares Practical Ways to Create Quality Enterprise For All
By: Lean Leaper | February 24, 2021
Columns
Karen Gaudet's Steady Work is the story of a leader helping teams develop steady work to help them get through normal days just a little better and help make the worst day ever just a little bit bearable. Here's a taste of the many lean insights captured in this book. More »
How Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Teaching Embodies Lean Thinking
By: Christopher D. Chapman | February 23, 2021
Columns
What can we learn about lean thinking from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  ? Christopher D. Chapman explains. More »
Understanding Customer Value: How Accounting Applies this Foundational Lean Concept to its Work
By: Mike De Luca and Nick Katko | February 18, 2021
Columns
Putting the entire customer experience first in thinking, not just the transaction, is the Lean Accountant's goal, asserts Nick Katko and Mike De Luca, More »
What's Your Lean Origin Story? And Why Does It Matter?
By: Josh Howell | February 16, 2021
Columns
"I’m wondering, as a leader and a coach, how can I help others develop similar routines, propagating, for example, the principle of 'work/er first' or 'work/er-back,'" says LEI's Josh Howell. "Reflecting on that has taken me all the way back to my 'lean origin story.  '" More »
Six Lessons from the Hyper-Fast Design and Finished Construction of the Sherman Alternate Care Facility
By: Brad Booker and Mark Walsh | February 8, 2021
Columns
The authors, an architect, and a regional lean manager, share the lean principles that enabled the delivery of both the construction and design of a 274-bed, 100,000 square foot healthcare renovation in 25 days -- amid a pandemic. More »
Two Giants, Two Communities, One Lasting Thing
By: John Shook | February 1, 2021
Columns
In this graceful elegy of the impact of two pioneers who recently passed away, John Shook says: "Ezra and Norm belonged to adjacent communities – one studied Japan, the other promoted enterprise improvement.  Ezra and the many proponents of the Japanese management boom set the table; Norm and his peers opened doors to achieving practical betterment.  " More »
Art of Lean on Situational Leadership, Part 2: Toyota, Taiichi, and TWI Job Instruction
By: Art Smalley | January 22, 2021
Columns
After the introduction to what situational leadership actually is, Art Smalley returns to run through some examples as to how this process of development has been, and continues to be, incredibly effective. Stay tuned for next week's episode as well, which will tackle further quadrants and coaching examples. More »
Improve Continuously by Mastering the Lean Kata
By: Rose Heathcote and Daryl Powell | December 9, 2020
Columns
Lean is about learning, say Rose Heathcote and Daryl Powell. Learning to find real problems, learning to face the limits of our current knowledge in light of these problems, learning to frame the gaps as learning challenges, and finally, learning to form and share actionable solutions. As such, lean is really about learning-to-learn. More »
Are You Deploying Lean Mechanistically--or Organically?
By: Jeffrey Liker | December 7, 2020
Columns
Toyota operates on a complete system based on organic rather than mechanistic principles, argues Jeff Liker, who delineates the advantages of this approach. More »
Who Cares? How to Engage Your People in Sustained Lean
By: Joanna McGuffey and Thomas Richert | December 3, 2020
Columns
If we want people to adopt lean practices because they will then be able to be more effective at work, then we must show them how these practices help them with their journey and stop talking about our journey, argue Joanna McGuffey and Tom Richert. More »
How Can Lean Affect Shareholder Value?
By: Michael Ballé | November 30, 2020
Columns
Lean can help challenge assumptions and surface opinions that ultimately improve shareholder value, argues Michael Balle. More »
Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn: A Podcast with Katie Anderson and Isao Yoshino
By: Lean Leaper | October 26, 2020
Columns
Join us for this WLEI podcast with Katie Anderson and Mr. Isao Yoshino on his experiences with Toyota that formed the basis for Katie's new book Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn. More »
The Power of Personal Yokoten
By: James P. Womack | September 29, 2020
Columns
Personal yokoten to teach new mindsets and attitudes is an activity all of us can perform out in the world every day with every manager, team leader, and team we touch, says Jim Womack. He believes we can transfer new, lean ideas about management and leadership in our civic roles and even in our families as we think through tough issues. More »
Lean Lessons from Cobra Kai(zen) and the Karate Kid
By: Michael Ballé | September 24, 2020
Columns
The unexpected wake-up call of the modest perfection of the original Karate Kid movie was that we need to move beyond defending this or that method of work and look to highlight opportunities of improving things beyond monetization, says Michael Balle in this reflection on the meaning of this classic movie. More »
How Respect for People Animates the Lean Spirit
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | September 7, 2020
Columns
Practicing respect is an animating force of lean leadership that colors how one coaches and develops people. This roundup of articles from our archives shares a range of voices on this essential practice. More »
How Menlo's Virtual Teams Are Lighting the Way Forward
By: Richard Sheridan | September 2, 2020
Columns
While Menlo Software continues to adjust to the never-ending changes caused by COVID-19, founder Rich Sheridan takes solace that they are teeing up these challenges as a team, figuring it out together, and continuing to work with each other across boundaries. More »
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