Comfort in Knowing

The purpose in doing 13 years of research centered on why leaders resist or reject Lean management was simply this: To learn what is going on. The books and papers listed below have satisfied my personal interest to understand what is going on, after years of promoting Lean to little avail. I, like so many others, have experienced mostly rejection in efforts to convince top leaders to abandon classical management in favor of Lean management. If we keep doing what we have always done in the past, the only thing we will accomplish is sustaining the financial interests of the Lean-Industrial Complex. We can do better than that if more people are willing to finally face up to the truth of what is really going on.


A common theme that has emerged in the feedback that I have received so far on the three books is that people have gained comfort in finally knowing what is going on. Now that they understand, they no longer think the problem lies with them and do not blame themselves for their failures to advance Lean management in their organizations. They are relieved to to know the situation — the current state of leadership — is far more complicated than they ever imagined and that their efforts were severely constrained by a lack of knowledge of the facts.

We all lived through our imagination of all the good things that Lean management could do for people. Great leadership, terrific working relationships, wonderful learning, experience true teamwork, have more fun at work, enjoy greater prosperity, and personal happiness and satisfaction. Our dreams ran so far ahead of the reality of the situation, yet so many are still blind. Those who have had their eyes opened now have much to think about and reflect on.

My work propelled people to make important personal decisions about their future. Some have decided to abandon Lean in favor of other pursuits that they have long been interested in but never had time for. Others are scaling back their efforts to promote Lean in their company and will simply try to do the best they can to apply Lean principles and practices to their work, to make their job easier and make life at work better for their team. They have given up hope for company-wide Lean transformation. Some have taken my work as a basis for developing new strategies and tactics for advancing Lean management in their company. Others will press on despite what they learned from me, to stay busy and squeeze a little bit more out of their deep investment in Lean, and hoping, as always, for better results. Whatever one decides to do, it is clear that my research has helped many people in different ways.

I did not know what to expect from people who would read my books. As I said previously, my work to understand why leaders resist or reject Lean management was done to satisfy my own personal curiosities. I thought my findings were interesting and, not being previously written about as I have done, would be worth sharing. That it has helped some people see things clearly and make decisions that fit their individual needs is unquestionably a favorable outcome.

Finally, I thank the people who have read these books and truly appreciate their candid feedback. I am always available to meet via Zoom or Skype, if you are interested. Stay healthy.

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