Over the years many of us have come to the conclusion that if we continue to see Lean through traditional management thinking we will only get traditional results. We have all seen and been part of initially promising consultant-led Lean programmes for arms-length leaders which fail to deliver lasting results over time. Introducing the building blocks of a Lean management system of itself does not change the fundamental assumptions of most leaders and managers. To make real progress we need to challenge this fundamental thinking, outline a path for Lean leaders, make the business case for Lean improvements clearer and create real ownership by all employees for improving their own work and solving tomorrows’ problems.

Our new book The Lean Strategy addresses these questions for the first time. For the last four years Michael Balle and I have worked with a unique group of CEOs and CFOs who have all gone through several consultant led programmes and come to the conclusion they had to actively lead their Lean transformations themselves, guided by a Sensei. With the help of ex-CEO Jacques Chaize and Orest Fiume former CFO of Wiremold we were able to distil this path and the changes in thinking and acting that they went through. In doing so we came to the conclusion that Lean is a very different kind of strategy that uses a different decision-making logic to help leaders to find the underlying problems, define the improvement directions and engage everyone in learning how to solve tomorrow’s problems.

The Lean Strategy describes these changes in detail through real cases and from the perspective of business leaders. We hope you will give it to leaders in your organisation to inspire them and show them how to actively lead your Lean journey. It also challenges the strategy process taught in business schools, not just their teaching of operations management. We hope this will take us further down the path to creating the people-centric management system that our time desperately needs.

Dr. Michael Ballé is a best-selling author and executive coach with twenty years’ experience in lean research and practice. He is associate researcher at Telecom Paristech where he co-founded the Project Lean Enterprise and the French Lean Institute. Ballé co-authored the Shingo Prize-winning lean novels The Gold Mine, The Lean Manager and Lead with Respect. He has a background in systems thinking and cognitive sociology.

Daniel T. Jones was part of the original MIT research team that discovered and codified the system Toyota used to make automobiles and named it Lean. He is the co-author of the classic groundbreaking works The Machine that Changed the World and Lean Thinking. A bestselling award-winning author researcher advisor to executive teams and keynote speaker Jones is founder and chairman of the non-profit the Lean Enterprise Academy in the UK, and the Lean Global Network of institutes.

Jacques Chaize is a pioneer in developing lean organizations. He was CEO of Danfoss Water Controls – a leading French/Danish water valve specialist that served as a model of lean practice. Since 2011 he has worked as an entrepreneur and consultant serving on the boards of companies in Europe and North America. He is the author of two business books and co-founder and president of SOL (Society for Organizational Learning) France.

Orest (Orry) J. Fiume was chief financial officer and a Director of The Wiremold Company the internationally recognized leader in lean business management. He has taught workshops on Lean Accounting at the Lean Enterprise Institute the TBM Institute the University of Dayton Center for Competitive Change and Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs). He serves on the Board of Directors of The Lean Enterprise Institute.

Source: The Lean Enterprise Academy

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