The early days of Lean management (circa 1988-2000) emphasized Toyota-style kaizen, what I call Type 1 Lean management. Yet the subsequent decades-long piecemeal introduction of discrete Lean tools and the eager uptake of each Lean tool by practitioners and organizations alike, one by one, resulted in the rapid devolution of Lean management to Type 2: Lean without kaizen.
Type 1 Lean successfully produced the rare “Real Lean” transformation, while Type 2 Lean produced the ubiquitous “Fake Lean” – continuous improvement without respect for people.
The discovery and creativity that comes with Toyota-style kaizen – the two things that mattered most – were lost. Lean’s impact was so greatly diminished that classical management remains in full force and effect in most organizations. These three books are premier guides to Toyota-style kaizen practice.
And if you don’t like to read books, take the best, most informative, most practical, and most inspiring online kaizen course available! Creative Kaizen.
As James P. Womack said on 12 August 2022, “no new ‘Toyotas’ were created” in the 4th generation of Lean. The lack of interest in Toyota-style kaizen among top leaders is a major contributor to that unexpected outcome.
For Lean management to fulfill its promise to displace classical management and create hundreds of thousands of “new Toyotas,” Lean practitioners must return to Toyota-style kaizen.