Developing Lean Leaders at all Levels – Book Review
This book is based on the online course developed by Jeffrey K. Liker who wrote the classic Lean book “The Toyota Way” and “The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership”. It is a practical guide with a goal to facilitate Lean Leadership in any type of organisation and the readers are recommended to find the coaches and practice the leadership concepts.
After observing many organisations struggling to create the culture of fostering Continuous Improvement, the author desired to teach the true philosophy of Lean Leadership. I had the privilege of translating this book into Korean to help spread Lean principles.
Using Toyota’s philosophy as a model, chapter 1 summarises Lean and its principles by following the history of the Toyota way.
Chapter 2 provides toolsets such as problem-solving and A3 reporting. This chapter explains how to problem solve your way to the ideal state. The author mentions this chapter as the most important chapter, because problem-solving is the driver for the Continuous Improvement and Respect for People. It is also the core skill for the Lean leaders.
Chapter 3 shows examples from Menlo Innovation how to clearly visualise the standard so that any deviation from it can be spotted immediately.
Then it goes through the four-step model (chapters four to seven): Commit to self-development, develop others, support work groups, and align goals toward a common vision.
Chapter 4 focuses on self-development, which is to learn to live True North values through repeated learning cycles.
Chapter 5 reveals developing others as the key to being a leader. It is not to force people to follow your way, but to develop them so they become capable of contributing in the best way to your organisation.
Chapter 6 shows how to bring leadership to the work group to support daily kaizen. Toyota work groups are at the heart of continuous improvement. As group leaders and team leaders develop, the work groups become more independent.
Chapter 7 shows that the difficult goals should be aligned across the organisation and from top to bottom through Hoshin Kanri. It is part of total quality management and the method Toyota has adopted to align goals company-wide, year after year. It also compares Hoshin Kanri with Management by objectives.
Finally, in chapter eight, the author shares the story of how Toyota developed the Scion brand to integrate the strategy with operational excellence. Toyota started what became Scion at a strategic level. Then they had to define the operational features and Lean systems, as well as put them in place to deliver on the promise to their customers.
If you are interested in developing Lean Leadership do contact us at LeanIT.