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What do you need from LEI?

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August 1 marks the fifth anniversary of the Lean Enterprise Institute. In our first five years we've conducted Lean Summits across the world (most recently in India in May) and produced a series of workbooks and workshops that many of you have bought and attended. Let me take this occasion to express our deep gratitude for your continuing support.

LEI was founded with a very simple objective: To write down the "lean knowledge" in workbook form and to teach this knowledge in workshops so you could answer the "what do I do on Monday?" question about improving your business. We also wanted to bring lean thinkers together periodically across the world to raise consciousness, share experiences, and give each other mutual support. We did this initially in North America and more recently in sites ranging from the UK, Germany, and France to Brazil, India, and Turkey.

I can't tell you that the first five years have been easy. I'm told they never are for a start-up organization. But we have survived while continually growing. Indeed, in the fiscal year just ended we managed to break even in the face of a recession with no contributions from the corporate partners who helped us get started. So we feel we're really growing up and we are now thinking hard about our future as a mature organization!

This is where I need your help. We have just posted a questionnaire on the LEI website [Editor's Note: The questionnaire is no longer available.] that contains a short list of questions on what you think of LEI's efforts to date and what you think LEI should do in the future. We are hoping to get your responses as soon as possible to incorporate in our plan for the years ahead. The plan will be presented to LEI Board of Directors for approval in September.

I hope you will go to the web right now and respond to the questionnaire. It has been designed with lean thinking in mind and will take only a few clicks and a few minutes to complete. If you are not currently logged in to the web site, you'll be asked to log in, then taken right to the survey. The first thing you will see is the profile information we have from you. Please take a moment to update it, especially your industry category. We've added more categories to give us a better picture of our customers.

And as you think through the questionnaire, I hope you will remember how important your support has been in the past and how helpful your frank evaluation and comments will be for the future of the lean community.

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