Lead with Lean

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Lead with Lean

 •  July 14

By Michael Ballé. Lean was born of the discovery in the late 1980s that Toyota outperformed all its competitors in all dimensions – not just one, but all. Thirty years later (30!) Toyota is still outperforming its competition whilst having produced the single most revolutionary innovation in the auto industry: the gas-electric hybrid...

Lead with Lean

 •  July 9

Why do entrepreneurs succeed, and then their companies fail? Or conversely, why do so many dominant companies keep succeeding although their customers hate them while new competitors never take off?
There is an inherent contradiction is any human organization since – well, since humans organized, from villages to bureaucracies to capitalistic...

Lead with Lean

 •  July 1

If teams and team leaders are the basic building blocs of lean, the atoms, how can I become better at leading teams? This is a question I get often, and as a leader of informal teams in the lean movement, I’ve been asking myself the same thing: where can I improve? On the gemba, it’s quite obvious that great team leaders have none of the classic...

Lead with Lean

 •  March 30

Another day, another conference, and again the same debate… what is lean?
We are collectively so deeply conditioned by taylorism/fayolism that people present without a second thought “lean manufacturing?” “lean development,” “lean IT”, lean this and that. They are showing improvement project, yes. Mostly, without realizing they are showing...

Lead with Lean

 •  February 24

Kata is a Japanese word for a detailed set of choreographed movements: it’s the way we do things. It’s not a rule. It’s not a program. It’s the best of of our knowledge at a given time.
Sure, a kata is sticky – you don’t change what you know without forethought. But a kata that doesn’t evolve is a dead kata. Katas are passed down from master to...

Lead with Lean

 •  February 18

In many ways, Lean is about developing a culture of autonomous problem solvers – but, what, exactly, do we mean by “solving a problem”?
A problem is when a mishap in the normal process leads to a gap in performance. An unexpected traffic jam on the way to take a train is a problem when it gets you at the station late. Missing the train because of...

Lead with Lean

 •  February 1

Practicing lean changes radically how managers manage.
I am fortunate in seeing this transformation firsthand every day, and here are 3 clear changes with huge impacts on management outcomes.
As managers learn lean thinking, you can see their management practice change visibly. Old habits are discarded, new behaviors are adopted. Funnily, the...

Lead with Lean

 •  January 18

Learning means making changes in how you work separating the helpful from the unhelpful, the impactful from the indifferent, adopting the helpful moves that matter and move on to the next change.
So many people look for the “secret ingredient” that will turn their lean efforts into performance transformation. There is nothing secret, it’s been...

Lead with Lean

 •  January 14

When designing a new product, start with customer flow and teardown.
When I sit on in product design meetings, most of the discussion is about how to make this or that function work and how to assemble the functions so that the product works overall, at a hoped for level of performance, quality and cost. This ensures you have a product on the...

Lead with Lean

 •  December 26, 2016

Humans are all about their tools. Tools are how we control our environment – and each other – for better or for worse. For instance, the great mechanical achievement that is the train can be used to move people and goods across the world, generating unlimited wealth in the process, but also to relocate forcibly entire populations and enslave them...