Lean Frontiers: Are they differences in getting middle management on board from getting executive management support?
Are there differences in getting middle management from executive management on board for 1) developing the lean enterprise and 2) direct engagement on their part? What are the differences, if any?
Posted on May 9, 2015
Archives by Tag 'leaders'
Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Strong coaches are there to develop internal leaders and coaches

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Sunday, November 9, 2014
Building on what Tracey said, think of the process of getting to be in a TPS promotion role at Toyota as a funnel with many people applying, a smaller number selected to join the company, and then a winnowing based on performance inside Toyota. People are coached and also watched carefully to understand their strengths and weaknesses. They are given opportunities to build on their strengths and overcome their weaknesses and some do that better then others. Some people have the ability to do a technical job really well, but may lack leadership skills. Others can ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: hoshin kanri links the kaizen activities of leaders and work groups at all levels so they are working toward common goals

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Saturday, April 27, 2013
In "The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership" we have a 4 step model of leadership development.   We place Hoshin Kanri fourth, after self development, developing others, supporting daily kaizen, and finally hoshin kanri.  What hoshin kanri can do is link together the kaizen activities of leaders and work groups at all levels so they are working toward common goals.   In a sport, for example, basketball, a game plan can do that.   But imagine the perfect game plan with a bunch of novice players going up against professionals.  It will be a blow out.  The novices do not have a chance ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: A problem can be a treasure if leaders make efforts to eliminate fear of failure

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Saturday, April 6, 2013
Certainly any tool or approach, technological or social, can be used for good or evil and people with power generally make the difference.   In a positive environment, that is fertile for lean, leaders makes a great effort to eliminate fear of failure.  It is often said that "a problem is a treasure."  This does not mean that you want to generate problems for the sake of creating treasures, but that finding one that is occurring and surfacing it is a treasure because now you can solve it. I was in an office ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Group leaders have to compute their team’s productivity standards

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013
As the ole’ saying goes “you can lead a horse to water……”, well you can give a person a measure but you can’t ensure it’s going to be totally value added.   I think most people understand the concept of managing by the numbers or objectives it’s more common than not; if you tell me what you need and you are my boss then I will normally do what is necessary to get you that number especially if it’s tied to my performance evaluation, bonus, wage increase, or promotion (*note just because I meet numbers doesn’t always mean I deserve a ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Lean leaders make people before they make parts

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Management is essentially about getting people to do what you want them to do, like having an extra pair of arms to implement your ideas, whereas leadership is about getting people to fight your battles for you. These are two very different approaches to any organizational role. In that sense, whether lean or not, leadership is about how you interpret your job, and then how successful you are at doing what you had in mind. There are endless studies and books about “leadership” and no one has quite put the finger on what it is that makes some leaders great. On ...

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Mike Rother

Mike Rother: Toyota Teaches its Leaders

By Mike Rother, - Last updated: Sunday, March 11, 2012
Question:  What distinguishes a Lean leader from a very good traditional leader, in behaviour and results? I think there's little difference between a good Lean leader and a good traditional leader. Both want to transcend themselves. What we may actually be asking here is why does Toyota seem to have a disproportionate number of them? One factor is the way Toyota leaders acquire their leadership ability. Traditionally we try to select for leadership skills -- making the assumption that they are inborn -- while at Toyota leadership skill and mindset are taught in daily practice. The pattern Toyota wants you to ...

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Jim Huntzinger

Jim Huntzinger: Lean leaders spend the time developing the people with different knowledge, wisdom and experience to change and evolve the system and culture of the organization

By Jim Huntzinger, - Last updated: Saturday, March 3, 2012
To carry forward the points Jeff makes about differentiating between a lean leader and a traditional leader, we can also look at this from a systems view.  As Dr. Liker aptly describes a traditional leader with all the adjectives that we are familiar with; and often, these types of leaders do make changes with very good results. The longer term issue is these types of leaders rarely make the deep system changes needed to sustain the high level results.  So as soon as they depart the organization so do the high level results.  The have not spent the time developing the ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: How do we continue to learn after current leaders move on?

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Thursday, November 10, 2011
Good insights from Steve, Mike et al -- thanks. Here are my thoughts, for posting. How Does Lean Survive a Change in Top Management? Succession planning is indeed the key, but perhaps not in the conventional sense. As Mike suggest Lean thinking entails meta-cognition. Meta-cognition entails 'knowing about knowing' and answering questions like: How do I learn? What do I know? What do I know well? What do I not know very well? Great leaders tend to know themselves thereby, and can make conscious decisions. (The Lean Business System is fundamentally about wakefulness.) Leaders need to ask these questions of their organization: How do we learn best? What do we currently know, and not know, well? Most ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Developing the next generation of leaders

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2011
As Steve pointed out succession planning is the key, except that succession planning means different things in different organizational contexts.  Many large companies pride themselves on succession planning and have elaborate IT systems and human resources has developed formal career paths.  In a lean organization, if Toyota is any guide, these types of systems are only superficial for screening.  One of the problems with trying to transform a traditional organization to lean is in fact the way the senior management was developed.  They are often focused only on results and pay lip service to developing leaders who can follow a ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker:continually assessing what customers want, striving for perfection in satisfying customers and in every aspect of our production and service process, developing in people the ability and motivation to detect and solve deviations from perfect one-piece flow, leaders who are developing in people the ability to continuous improve, and a long-term value of the enterprise on satisfying customers and contributing to society.

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Monday, November 22, 2010
As you know Wikipedia is a kind of public free-for-all in how different topics get defined and analyzed and this person got there and took the time to write something so I give them credit. In a book I and coauthors just completed that will be out in the winter, entitled:  The Toyota Way to Continuous Improvement, we argue that we may have misled the public through definitions of lean that focus on waste reduction.  If I may use a quote from that book: "At the risk of sounding disrespectful, what do all these people think they are doing by leaning ...

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