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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 »
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 »
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 »
Now is the Time for Resilience and Adaptability!
By: Sandrine Olivencia | June 12, 2020
Columns
People and organizations can create the conditions for building their own resilience by drawing from TPS, the Thinking People System, says Sandrine Olivencia. But for this to work, leaders still need to put in the necessary energy: the will to examine the facts as they are and to give their teams the space for experimenting and making their contributions. More »
Five Revolutions Into the Lean Journey: What's Next?
By: Daniel T. Jones | May 25, 2020
Columns
The current pandemic serves as an opportunity for us to rethink the world of enterprise (and more), says Dan Jones. He reflects on five lean revolutions, and he explores how, once Covid-19 passes, lean may continue to shape mindful and purposeful enterprise. More »
Keep Calm and Manage Stably: Akio Toyoda’s Response to Crisis
By: Jeffrey Liker and John Y. Shook | May 21, 2020
Columns
Jeff Liker and John Shook comment on the recent remarks of Toyota President Akio Toyoda, stating that they "reaffirmed the remarkable ways of the company, leaving us with confidence that Toyota will continue to serve as an inspiration, even as the world continues to change in unpredictable ways.  " More »
Pursuing Dreams, Facing Reality
By: Richard Sheridan | May 11, 2020
Columns
In this letter shared to his fellow Menloians, Rich Sheridan acknowledges the new reality they all must fact, and commits to making the most with the time that is given to all of them. More »
5S, Hygiene, and Healthy Habits
By: Michael Ballé | April 23, 2020
Columns
5S-like practice can uncover hidden beliefs and misconceptions, and pave the way to adopting new hygiene practices – as opposed to arbitrary imposition, argues Michael Balle, adding: In this community, we, of all people, have been trained to do so. Now is the time to start acting on it. More »
Active Caring
By: Jim Benson | April 13, 2020
Columns
Caring about others, caring about quality, caring about professionalism. When you care, continuous improvement and action come naturally. Turner Construction CEO Peter Davoren says that he would like Turner people to exhibit "active caring". This may sound vague, but it is actionable. In this article Jim Benson details this approach. More »
Recommended Reading: Immunity, from Planet Lean
By: Lean Leaper | April 3, 2020
Columns
Please read the Planet Lean article Immunity for a detailed primer on how Italian manufacturer FPZ applied lean principles when tackling a host of problems posed by the current pandemic. More »
Lean and "emotional heijunka" in a Time of Pandemic
By: James P. Womack | April 1, 2020
Columns
In this timely reflection, Jim Womack calls for "emotional heijunka": taking a deep breath, identifying the most important problems that must be addressed in a given process, and screening out the emotional inputs we are bombarded with so that we don't get into the dumps or soar with false euphoria. More »
Why (and How) We Believe Lean Can Help During COVID-19
By: Lean Sensei Women | March 20, 2020
Columns
As Lean Sensei Women, we have put together some relevant lean suggestions and ideas for your organization to use (and of course, you can apply many of them at home as well) in response to COVID-19. They’re simple and easy, can be implemented quickly, and are all based on our lean principles of respect for humanity and continuous improvement. More »
Why Lean Remains A Superior Business Model and Way of Thinking
By: Daniel T. Jones | March 13, 2020
Columns
The lean business model offers an alternative to conventional thinking, says Dan Jones. He argues that it achieves a premium price by being better at helping customers to meet their needs and retaining them, rather than dominating markets and controlling customers. More »
The Courage to be Lean
By: Joanna McGuffey and Thomas Richert | February 26, 2020
Columns
A meaningful purpose is not what you are doing or how you are doing it, argue Joanna McGuffey and Tom Richert. It’s why your team is doing anything in the first place. When teams do not know why they are doing what they are doing, there is a tendency to disengage due to lack of ownership and passion. More »
Rivian: The Electric-Vehicle Company Taking the Auto Industry by Storm
By: Josh Howell | February 17, 2020
Columns
In this podcast, Rivian Founder and CEO R.  J. Scaringe and former COO Jim Morgan discuss the challenges of forming a bold electric car company from scratch. Starting with nothing a decade ago and now fueled by billions of dollars and more than 1000 employees, the company is set to launch two "electric adventure vehicles" domestically later this year. More »
Time To Make Time
By: John Y. Shook | January 17, 2020
Columns
When the people in a lean system don't value time, everyone is cheated, says John Shook, in this fascinating reflection on the role that time plays in a close observation of work. More »
Tackling the Problems at the Heart of Coaching
By: Lean Leaper | December 23, 2019
Columns
What is the best way to navigate the tough challenge of coaching someone productively? What is the best way to both challenge the individual while providing sufficient space for them to own their personal learning? When is the best situation in which to intervene? Such challenging questions are at the heart of this engaging dialogue between LEI’s Deb McGee and coach Jeff Smith. More »
Let Joy Power Your Organization's Flight
By: Richard Sheridan | December 4, 2019
Columns
Joy is a powerful word in life and, as it turns out, in business too, says Rich Sheridan. A company that discovers the relevant principles of organizational flight can also fly to heights and distances that were previously unimaginable. And, in doing so, can experience the business value of joy. More »
Why Lean is a Time-based Strategy
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | November 22, 2019
Columns
Lean is a time-based strategy: it uses time to gain competitive advantage, says Orry Fiume. "Once I understood this I started saying “Time is the currency of lean”.  " More »
Frame the Work For Safety and Learning
By: Amy C. Edmondson | November 15, 2019
Columns
The most important skill to master as a leader is that of framing the work, says Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson. Frames consist of assumptions or beliefs that we layer onto reality. All of us frame objects and situations automatically. Great leaders understand this and manage frames intentionally. More »
How A3 Presentations Help Us Build Teamwork
By: Nicolas Chartier | October 30, 2019
Columns
CEO Nicolas Chartier shares a huge benefit of regular use of A3 among his team: "You realize as a CEO that you’re more useful as organizing conditions for teamwork than being the one who knows everything and decides everything. Teamwork cannot be done without you, knowledge and decision can be done without you.  " More »
Why We Believe that Lean is More Than A Manufacturing Approach
By: Lean Sensei Women | October 25, 2019
Columns
Is Lean thinking a thing of the past from glorious manufacturing times in the late twentieth century? Or, on the other hand, is it possible that Lean is still the best approach today to address ever-more-complex human endeavors? Read the thoughts of these Lean sensei women on the topic. More »
How Hoshin Kanri Aligns Your Key Organizational Systems
By: Mark Reich | October 16, 2019
Columns
Think of hoshin (strategy alignment) like the human body, argues Mark Reich: The body needs a strong skeletal structure (hoshin) to hold it together (just like an organization). But a body can’t move effectively if its muscles (continuous improvement) are not kept active and developed as well. More »
Why Doesn't Lean Have a Seat at the Table?
By: Steven Spear | October 11, 2019
Columns
Why hasn’t Lean spread more widely, asks Steven Spear, suggesting that it has not been framed in a way that addresses the strategic concern of managers. Instead it is primarily taught as just tools. And let’s face it, the licensed electricians don’t get a seat at the table. More »
Ask Art: At What Pace Should A Lean Turnaround Be Implemented?”
By: Art Byrne | October 9, 2019
Columns
Changing from a traditional batch, make-the-month culture to a lean value driven culture takes a lot of time and effort, says Art Byrne. The faster you go, the sooner you willsee the enormous benefits of lean. Also, the faster you go the less backsliding you will see and the changes will become permanent. So be bold, go as fast as you can. More »
Book Review: The Toyota Engagement Equation by Tracey and Ernie Richardson
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | September 20, 2019
Columns
In their book The Toyota Engagement Equation, authors Tracey and Ernie Richardson don’t hit you over the head telling you what to do or how to think per se; instead they share how they learned what they know, and in so doing, invite you to think along the same lines. More »
What Is Your Leadership Model?
By: Nicolas Chartier | September 13, 2019
Columns
In this reflection based on his work as CEO Lean is a leadership model: for more than 60 years now it has been developed, analyzed, tested, adapted; largely by Toyota but also by many others, copying, adding, evolving. More »
Why We Believe Lean is Worth Our Unwavering Commitment
By: Lean Sensei Women | August 16, 2019
Columns
Lean provides a powerful alternative to short-term enterprise driven solely by the goal of maximizing profits while externalizing human and environmental costs, argues these leading Lean thinkings, who reveal why Lean promises a more humane, productive, meaningful, and ultimately, sustainable path forward. More »
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