Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award recipient
In this groundbreaking sequel to The Gold Mine, authors Michael and Freddy Ballé teach readers the most important lean lesson of all: how to transform themselves and their workers through the discipline of learning the lean system.
The Lean Manager: A Novel of Lean Transformation reveals how individuals can go beyond the short-term gains from tools, and realize a deeper, sustainable path of improvement. Full of human moments that capture the excitement and drama of lean implementation, as well as clear explanations of how tools and systems go hand-in-hand, this book will teach and inspire every person working to make lean a reality in their organization today.
This book will help you learn both the how of doing lean, as well as the why behind the tools, to enable you to become lean. Lean is an important business model for competitive success. Yet companies still struggle to sustain enduring and deep-rooted business success from their lean implementation efforts.
The biggest problem for these companies is becoming lean: how can they advance beyond realizing isolated gains through the use of lean tools, to fundamentally changing how they operate, think, and learn? How can companies learn to go beyond lean turnaround to achieve lean transformation?
The Lean Manager addresses this critical problem. As we move from what Jim Womack, LEI founder and lean management expert calls “the era of lean tools to the era of lean management,” The Lean Manager gives companies a definitive guide for sustaining their ability to learn, improving their operations and financial performance, while continually developing their people.
“The only way to become and stay lean is to produce lean managers,” Womack says. “Every isolated effort will recede—or fail—unless companies learn to use the lean process as a way of developing individual problem-solvers with the ownership, initiative, and know-how to solve problems, learn, and ultimately coach new individuals in this discipline. That’s why this book matters so much.”
The Lean Manager tells the compelling story of plant manager Andrew Ward as he goes through the challenging but rewarding journey of becoming a lean manager. Under the guidance of Phil Jenkinson (whose lean journey was the core of The Gold Mine), Ward learns to use a deep understanding of lean tools, as well as a technical know-how of his plant’s operations, to foster a lean attitude that sustains continuous improvement.
Where The Gold Mine shows you how to introduce a complete lean system, The Lean Manager demonstrates how to sustain it. Ward moves beyond fluency with tools to changing his behavior as a manager and leader. He shifts from giving orders and answers to asking the right questions to help people identify and address problems. He learns how to motivate and unleash the creativity of people, so they learn how to solve problems and coach others. Essentially, Ward learns how to create lean managers.
“I am excited and have hopes that this book will enlighten readers about what it really means to live a business transformation that puts customers first and does this through developing people,” said Jeffrey Liker, author of The Toyota Way. “People who do the work have to improve the work. There are tools, but they are not tools for ‘improving the process.’ They are tools for making problems visible and for helping people think about how to solve those problems.”