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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 »
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 »
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 »
WLEI: Tapping Technology to Boost the Power of Lean: A Talk with Jeff Liker and Jim Morgan
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | August 24, 2020
Audio
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.      More »
Tapping Technology to Boost the Power of Lean: A Talk with Jeff Liker and Jim Morgan
By: Lean Leaper | August 24, 2020
Columns
What principles should guide lean thinkers as they introduce digital tools into their work? How about people, processes, and purpose, say Jeff Liker and Jim Morgan in this WLEI podcast with host Tom Ehrenfeld. More »
Beware the Comforts of Waste
By: Rose Heathcote | August 13, 2020
Columns
After a major move, lean thinker Rose Heathcote reflected that with lean thinking comes the responsibility to look inward at oneself before looking outward to what must change in the organization. It may sit in the fundamental thinking we have adopted regarding business and costs, but it also gets more personal in how we treat and nurture our talent. More »
Tapping Technology to Boost the Power of Lean: A Talk with Jeff Liker and Jim Morgan (Transcript)
August 3, 2020
Articles
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. Read a full transcript of their conversation about the TPS-Industry 4.  0 mashup with WLEI Host Tom Ehrenfeld.    More »
Ask Art: Why Do Most Companies Think Of Lean as Just a Cost Reduction Program?
By: Art Byrne | July 15, 2020
Columns
We shouldn’t be surprised at all that most companies approach lean as a cost reduction program, when it really is better understood as a time-based growth strategy, says Art Byrne, who points out the strategic benefits that accrue to companies practicing lean completely. 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: Dan 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 »
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