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Purpose, Process, People
By: James P. Womack | June 7, 2021
When evaluating your lean efforts, Jim Womack suggests that you examine your purpose first of all, and then your process and then your people. More »
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 »
Why You Need to Understand The Purpose of Purposeful Enterprise
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | June 21, 2021
Work with your team to articulate your purpose, as this shared statement will align the many aspects of your pragmatic lean improvement work, says Tom Ehrenfeld in this roundup about the purpose of purposeful work. More »
How Lean Thinking and Practice, Grounded in Purpose, Helped Drive Amazon’s Success
By: Lean Leaper | May 7, 2021
Marc Onetto shares his experiences in Amazon, underlining the importance of a customer-driven approach in times of heavy demand and production. More »
Create Constancy of Purpose
By: James P. Womack | April 12, 2021
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 »
Spring Spotlight: Creating the Purposeful Enterprise
By: Lean Leaper | April 1, 2021
Information and insights that explore the many facets of this fundamental lean concept. A compilation of the articles published as part of an occasional series in the Spring of 2021. More »
Planning the Purposeful Turnaround
By: Josh Howell | January 19, 2021
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
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
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
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
This is an expanded version of our 1-day Lean Problem Solving workshop which is offered exclusively in our office in Cambridge, MA. More »
Art of Lean on Problem-Solving, Part 4: Military Science and Leadership
By: Lean Leaper and Art Smalley | May 14, 2021
Art takes a look at the military and their methods of teaching to see what lean can borrow, giving the coaching side of lean even more outward inspiration. More »
Are You Narrowing Your Problems Down?
By: Michael Ballé | May 4, 2021
"Rationality did not lay in higher reasoning powers, in visionary schemes, but in the ability to narrow down problems until one reached the nitty-gritty level at which one could actually do something about them," writes the protagonist of Michael Balle's The Gold Mine. More »
Focus Your Operating System to Bring Your Strategy to Life
By: Jim Morgan | May 3, 2021
An effective operating system brings strategy to life, argues Jim Morgan. He notes how it synchronizes critical activities, enables the organization to respond quickly to a changing environment and allows plans and teams to move together. More »
Understand Before You Execute
By: Jim Morgan | April 30, 2021
Leading practitioners share the benefits of understanding this principle of lean product and process development. More »
What Problems Does The Gold Mine Challenge You to Address?
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | April 28, 2021
Learning begins with self-reflection, a process that can start with group reading and discussion of ideas from lean books. We are launching the LEI book club with a discussion of The Gold Mine, and sharing questions from the book for you to consider. More »
Who, or What, Is Your Company Investing In?
By: Josh Howell | April 20, 2021
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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 »
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