Five Lean Lessons to Live By

Lead Change Blog

Lean reflects the natural evolution of business and knowledge-based work: data-driven, yet practicing mindfulness in everyday production. At the team level, Lean prioritizes helping members pinpoint inefficiencies and work together to optimize results for the customer. Lean has long held a spot of great intrigue for us, so in 2016 we developed our first Lean Business Report based on survey responses from a number of Lean-practicing organizations across the globe.

The Toyota Way: A book review by Bob Morris

First Friday Book Synopsis

The Toyota Way Jeffrey Liker McGraw-Hill (2003) To understand Toyota’s success, first understand its DNA I read this book when it was first published in 2004 and recently re-read it, curious to know how well Jeffrey Liker’s explanation of Toyota’s management principles and lean production values have held up.


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Project Manage Your Life

Harvard Business Review

More and more companies are adopting software and product development frameworks like Agile , Scrum , and Kanban — which promote quick, iterative, lean production — to deliver higher quality products, faster. If these methods can help teams get on the same page, streamline tasks, and reach collective goals more quickly, can they also help people be more productive in their personal lives? Getting Work Done (20-Minute Manager Series).

Benefits And Challenges Of Lean Manufacturing

Strategy Driven

Lean thinking is all about doing more with less. Therefore, lean manufacturing is about reducing or eliminating waste across the board, from customer service and design to distribution and manufacturing. It is also commonly referred to as lean production. There are many benefits associated with lean manufacturing, as well as numerous challenges. The short-term and long-term benefits of lean manufacturing.

Why American Management Rules the World

Harvard Business Review

After a decade of painstaking research, we have concluded that American firms are on average the best managed in the world. But while Americans are bad at football (or soccer, as it's known as locally), they are the Brazilians of Management. Over the past decade, a team from Harvard Business School, London School of Economics, McKinsey & Company, and Stanford has systematically surveyed global management. Well managed firms thrash their poorly managed competitors.

Can Lean Manufacturing Put an End to Sweatshops?

Harvard Business

It involves replacing traditional mass manufacturing with “lean manufacturing” principles. Over the last thirty years, the lean approach — developed by Japanese automakers — has permeated the manufacturing sector in developed countries, but is much less commonly used in the developing world. Traditional mass manufacturing is based on principles of “Scientific Management” that date back to the 19th century.

B-Schools Aren’t Bothering to Produce HR Experts

Harvard Business Review

In the 1980s, our organizations learned a great deal about how to improve productivity, quality, and costs from Japanese practices. Lean production , which includes a vastly expanded role for front-line workers in addressing problems, was brought to the United States by Toyota in its auto plants but has now spread to health care, professional services, and virtually every other industry. Clearly, well-run operations and careful talent management went hand-in-glove.

Breaking the Death Grip of Legacy Technologies

Harvard Business Review

Technologies like 3-D printing, robotics, advanced motion controls, and new methods for continuous manufacturing hold great potential for improving how companies design and build products to better serve customers. Robotics is a good example: It’s obvious that it can increase productivity, but it takes some know-how to put robots to work. Managers constantly try to fit new market needs to existing processes and routines.

Cracking Hierarchies In Japan After the Tohoku Earthquake

Harvard Business Review

Japan is famous for its lean production systems and efficient supply chains. Large companies such as Toyota and Sony were forced to halt production not because of damage to their own factories, which were quickly checked and ready to go back online, but because they were dependent on a small number of parts from suppliers in Tohoku. The most serious failure, though, has been the management of TEPCO. The current hierarchical model of management has cracked.

Please, Can We All Just Stop "Innovating"?

Harvard Business Review

There's something about the culture of business that tends toward excess — in financial markets, to be sure, but also in the "market" for new ideas and management techniques. As they unleash new products and services, find exciting new ways to do the stuff they've always done, or identify new markets in which to do business, these companies simply do what makes sense and what comes naturally.

Does Your Leadership Flunk the Testing Test?

Harvard Business Review

Just as the "quality" and "lean production" movements of the 80s and 90s required quality to be designed — rather than inspected — in, innovators have got to demonstrate greater ingenuity and integrity around how they integrate real-world testing into their projects and processes. Just as with quality and lean, this turns out to be a cultural, organizational and technical challenge.

Founding a Company Doesn’t Have to be a Big Career Risk

Harvard Business Review

The most important way to mitigate risk is to become excellent at either engineering, product, selling, or operations and management. One option is to build expertise before founding a company: ask VCs and others in the startup community to recommend the most competent people they know — heads of engineering, sales, product, and operations — and look for a job working directly under them. “I’m so glad we read that case — I’m NEVER going to start a company.”.

IPO 12

The Coherent Conglomerate

Harvard Business Review

A conglomerate, by definition, is a large corporation with diversified product lines , owned and run by the same management. Conglomerates are defended for their synergies, and for the benefits of diversity as a hedge against failure in one sector (though this argument is often oversold by management, since shareholders can diversify and thus hedge risk for themselves). GE has its strengths in the management of large-scale industries.

Welch 15

How Economists Got Income Inequality Wrong

Harvard Business Review

The market rewards each of us according to our actual productive value, he insisted : "To each agent a distinguishable share in production, and to each a corresponding reward &38212; such is the natural law of distribution." If firms can, indeed, make such substitutions and thus shop for factors of production as if they were consumer products, then markets do determine the value of each worker and each piece of capital. Does production really work this way?

What You Won’t Hear About Trade and Manufacturing on the Campaign Trail

Harvard Business

They ignore the realities of how global manufacturing now works — how it has evolved into a complex network of interlinked factories that together build many of the products sold today. That is true at a high level — Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (and subsequent amendments) required every imported product to be “conspicuously and indelibly marked in English to indicate to the ultimate purchaser its country of origin, so we can see this plainly on store shelves.