Every once in a while I receive feedback that reminds me of how different my work is, as well as my position in relation to the industry that sells Lean.
My mission is to advance REAL Lean thinking and practice; to help people better understand and practice Lean management, with a specific focus on Lean leadership. In pursuit of this mission, I work full-time as university professor. I have for many years taught a course in Lean leadership and have written dozens of research papers and books on this and related topics.
Being a teacher means that I am driven to help people learn and improve, not to make money as consultants or trainers are driven to do. I do not have sales or profit goals to achieve. I do not pay people to promote my books, to make me appear larger than life, or to make you think I am an expert. I have no employees, no office, and no rent to pay. I answer my own phone and e-mails.
Because of my unique position, I am beholden to no one. Therefore, I can say things that people are thinking but dare not say; things that are good for you to know, but potentially bad for me to say. I do not know of anyone else who is willing to serve your interests as an independent voice. Do you?
I am able to write about things that are critically important for Lean success but which other people do not see as a big money-maker. My focus has always been on details that others never see, overlook, or do not care about – but which do much to explain the prevalence of Fake Lean. My position allows me to think critically about Lean management as it has evolved over time and write about it to teach others where Lean has been, where it is now, and where it may go in the future.
I do not hesitate to call out Fake Lean, strategic errors in the promotion of Lean, missed opportunities, improvement opportunities, and so on. Perhaps it is hard to imagine, but Lean people trained to be fact-based and see reality do not like it when someone tells it like it is. Interestingly, I have yet to be criticized over substance. The only criticism I have received is over style.
I simply want to provide you with the best information that I can to help you practice REAL Lean. I want to help you avoid misunderstandings, mistakes, and re-work, and I especially want to make sure that your practice of Lean does not harm people – whether they are employees, suppliers, customers, investors, or communities.
Being outspoken has costs and consequences that I bear to serve as independent voice for you.