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View Crises as Manageable Challenges Through Steady Lean Leadership
By: Lean Leaper | September 14, 2020
Columns
If you are using lean to tackle a series of crises, you may not be using lean in the first place, say a range of thinkers who urge leaders to cultivate a shared mindset that seeks problems from every person every day as a means of avoiding unexpected challenges. More »
Growing from a Tactical Practitioner to a Strategic Thinker
By: Andrew Quibell | August 25, 2020
Columns
One helpful way to move from being a tactical leader to a strategic one is to suggest that a better alternative exists and put people in a position where they can see the gains to be harvested from change, says Andrew Quibell. More »
Changing Routines
By: Josh Howell | August 18, 2020
Columns
In this article exploring ways to help lead positive change, Josh Howell asks: is pursuing understanding and conviction part of your influence or change model? Does your operating system enable it at the frontline, closest to the customer? And if not, what are the consequences? More »
How Using Kanban Builds Trust
By: Michael Ballé | August 12, 2020
Columns
Kanban functions as a trust machine because everyone using it must understand what they have to do and why, says Michael Balle: "Our purpose here is to share our ideas on what we believe is important in lean thinking.  " More »
How the A3 Process Developed to Help Build Better Managers, Part Two
By: John Shook and Isao Yoshino | August 7, 2020
Columns
In this second of two articles, Isao Yoshino and John Shook explore how A3 emerged as powerful practice at Toyota for developing better managers. More »
How the A3 Process Developed to Help Build Better Managers
By: John Shook and Isao Yoshino | August 6, 2020
Columns
One of the hallmarks of a successfully executed A3 process is that it is a collaborative activity--a learning process for everyone involved: for learner and teacher, senpai and kohai, sensei and deshi, say authors Isao Yoshino and John Shook. Here's the first of two articles tracing the development of A3 thinking at Toyota. More »
Learning the Hard and Soft Skills of Lean Coaching
By: Lean Leaper | August 3, 2020
Columns
While lean is often associated with process improvement, error reduction, and greater efficiency in a wide range of numbers; most veterans argue that above all else, this system is primarily about healthy, productive, and sustainable coaching. More »
Keeping the "Day One" Spirit Alive
By: Regis Medina | July 29, 2020
Columns
Building in a cadence of gemba walks helps nurture the vital "day one" startup spirit as a company grows, says Regis Medina. He offers key tips on how to cultivate this approach. More »
How Lean Experts Create a Pipeline for Leadership Talent
By: Lean Leaper | July 13, 2020
Columns
Developing a pipeline for diverse leadership talent is a key principle for leading companies--and the topic of a session led by two Herman Miller leaders in the upcoming Virtual Lean Learning Experience. The handful of articles culled from the LEI archives share lessons on this topic from a range of experts. More »
Lessons Shared On Learning to Lead; and Leading to Learn
By: Katie Anderson | July 8, 2020
Columns
In her new book, Katie Anderson argues that, "being a leader means clearly defining a challenge or target for your people. The purpose of a challenge is to stretch people to create new possibilities, to strive for bigger outcomes, and to support learning.  " More »
What I Learned by Coaching at the Gemba Virtually
By: Mark Reich | June 23, 2020
Columns
Lean Coach Mark Reich shares an example of how lean thinking is itself continually renewed, as leading practitioners use it to solve new problems. More »
Why Managing Emotions at Work Matters
By: Susan David | June 22, 2020
Columns
True effectiveness in the workplace – innovation, change, enhanced customer experience - requires an acknowledgement of how emotions interface with outcomes, says author Susan David. It is when emotions are acknowledged and brought into organizational processes, rather than being sidelined, that the full power of human intellect and possibility is realized. More »
How to A3: Resources for Developing Structured Problem-Solving and Leadership Skills
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | June 18, 2020
Columns
As LEI prepares its next course on Managing to Learn, here's a popular article rounding up a wealth of resources about practicing A3 Thinking by Tom Ehrenfeld 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 »
Book Review: Learning to Scale, a "Practical Field Guide" to Lean Growth
By: Catherine Chabiron | June 5, 2020
Columns
In his new book Learning to Scale, author Regis Medina has "successfully translated each concept of the TPS and lean strategy into a clear and practical guidance for today’s digital world," says Catherine Chabiron in her review. More »
How to Show Respect During a Pandemic
By: Katrina Appell | May 29, 2020
Columns
Lean Coach Katrina Appell shares how to use Maslow's hierarchy of needs to clarify how to show respect for people during a pandemic. 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 »
Why We Believe We Have All the Bricks to Build Our Future
By: Lean Sensei Women | May 5, 2020
Columns
In this wide-ranging article, lead author Catherine Chabiron and her fellow Lean Sensei Women propose a number of ways to tackle the new emerging challenges posed by the current pandemic. More »
How One Company is Using Lean Fundamentals When Facing Disruption
By: Michael Ballé | March 27, 2020
Columns
Companies that have been built using lean principles are turning to these core ideals when confronting the unique challenges caused by today’s pandemic. Here's how the French seller of automobiles, AramisAuto, is responding. More »
Why You Need a Product Focus for Enterprise Transformation
By: Jim Morgan | March 16, 2020
Columns
Lean Product and Process Development serves as an enterprise activity that can engage the entire organization and improve operations and growth, says Jim Morgan. Listen to his keynote address for insights into how. More »
How Can Lean Help Respond to Crises?
By: Michael Ballé | March 11, 2020
Columns
Although lean might seem fragile to crises, because of low inventories, it’s quite the opposite, says Michael Balle: Lean thinking is about training to solve small crises – problems – daily. More »
Delivering Quality Foods with Zingerman's Mail Order
By: Josh Howell | March 2, 2020
Columns
Listen to this podcast between Tom Root, Zingerman Mail Order's Managing Director, and Josh Howell for a wide-ranging conversation about several phases of ZMO’s lean transformation, including the challenge of establishing a culture of continuous improvement with full participation, and how lean thinking could impact the food industry that’s in desperate need of a better way. More »
Respect for People Means Taking Care with Your Questions
By: Karen Gaudet | February 14, 2020
Columns
Asking effective questions is an art in and of itself, says Karen Gaudet, in this excerpt from her new book, Steady Work. Of the many skills required of a leader through a lean transformation, to ask questions of others when you seek to understand a certain problem or situation can make or break the outcome. More »
What’s the Problem: Andrew Lingel Discusses Transforming a Family Business through Knowledge, Grit, and Outrage
By: Matthew Savas | February 10, 2020
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In this What's the Problem podcast with Matt Savas, President Andrew Lingel of United Plastic Fabricating shares how he helped lead a transformation in this family business that makes polypropylene products primarily for the fire industry. More »
How Ron Kelner Helped Build A System of Improvement at Deublin
By: Josh Howell | February 3, 2020
Columns
In this podcast, Deublin COO Ron Kelner shares with Josh Howell the long learning journey of his company as it pursues lean, moving beyond creating a foundation of tools-based improvement, and towards developing a business system with problem-solving and people development at its core. More »
Why We Believe that Pull Flows Are Too Often Overlooked
By: Lean Sensei Women | January 29, 2020
Columns
In this incisive series of articles on the essential value of pulled flow, the lean sensei women argue, in the words of Catherine Chabiron, that pulled flows are not just a manufacturing fad. It is the only way we know to dig deeper into our jobs, collaborate better, and eventually face all the real problems. More »
How Lean Can Make Workplaces Safer and Healthier
By: Jeffrey Pfeffer | December 16, 2019
Columns
The companies that are really going to solve the problem of unsafe work, just as they've done this for physical safety, have to begin by thinking about every aspect of the job and job design, says Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer. Making work safer and healthier begins with basically redesigning the work, and eliminating the stuff that is harmful, unnecessary, stressful, could be automated, and more. More »
Ask Art: What Do You Mean When You Say “Productivity equals Wealth”?
By: Art Byrne | December 13, 2019
Columns
Productivity is the greatest wealth creator whether you talk about countries or companies, says Art Byrne. If you go about it correctly, the best ideas for productivity gains will always come from the people doing the work. Make sure you share the gains with them. More »
The Hard Work of Making Hard Work Easier
By: Mark Reich | December 11, 2019
Columns
We persevere by struggling to overcome the challenges of hard work, argues Mark Reich. And, he says it is also our responsibility to challenge individuals, to “invoke struggle” so people think about how to change how the company views frontline work. It is our job to ensure that the lead person struggles to change the culture. 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 »
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