• Prepare for whiplash

    Prepare for whiplash

    Let’s take care of the sick first, yes? They need care. So let’s take care of the care providers, yes? They need material and emotional support to do their jobs – masks for protection, gel for disinfection, respirators for the […]

  • Lean thinking at the cliff’s edge

    Lean thinking at the cliff’s edge

    Lean thinkers, the first question is what can we do to create psychological safety for people affected so that they feel enabled to be cautious and break the chain of transmission? But a second crisis is looming that we, lean […]

  • Lean is a verb, not a thing

    Lean is a verb, not a thing

    Lean is a verb, not a thing. Lean is the act of looking for waste, then asking why it’s there, then committing to do something about it, getting others onboard, and trying something. My son leaned us when he pointed out […]

  • Me, bad boss

    Me, bad boss

    A dubious privilege of being a business writer is that people talk to me. People who do the work talk to me. Their bosses talk to me. I get to hear both sides of the story, which is fascinating and, […]

  • Lean executive coaching

    Lean executive coaching

    I often get asked “how do you move from gemba coaching to executive coaching?” which I find kind of surprising because the whole point of executive coaching is to get execs to the gemba, looking into the details, discussing with […]

  • Kanban is a trust machine

    Kanban is a trust machine

    Lean started with Kanban, and Kanban is a trust machine. There are four elements elements to Kanban: a Heijunka board reflecting takt time, the Kanban cards, a shop stock, and component Kanbans. You might have come across the short animations […]

  • Lean meets green

    Lean meets green

    We’re burning the planet – I think we all realize that by now. We know the how – too much production of greenhouse gases, too much production of heat through energy use, too much use of natural rare resources. We […]

  • Start with No Win Deals

    Start with No Win Deals

    In the old days, when I watched Toyota sensei help their suppliers with quality issues, the first question they’d ask was: “have you checked the materials?” Or “can we see your ordering pattern?” It always wrong-footed everybody. In a worldview […]

  • The enduring magic of lean thinking

    The enduring magic of lean thinking

    I continue to be amazed by the fact that executives who are genuinely interested in figuring out “lean” have spectacular results with it, while those who want to use lean to fix performance problems in their processes fail within two […]

  • Curiosity is the secret sauce to lean

    Curiosity is the secret sauce to lean

    Okay… it’s taken me something like 20 years but I’ve finally connected some dots. Lean thinking works, lean thinking is hard. Here’s why. One of the main themes of my doctoral research, in the previous century, was the “law of […]