Advancing Lean management is a relay race. The first leg is nearing completion. The baton was held by those who brought the Toyota production system (TPS) and Lean to public attention in the late-1970s through the mid-1990s. They ran the first leg well, but this first generation of Lean leaders is now all but retired.
Unfortunately, the thinking and methods they used to advance Lean have grown stagnant. Even the methods used by the great Toyota to advance TPS to other organizations are in need of significant improvement.
The baton now passes into the second leg of the race, in the hope that the younger generation (20-to-40 somethings) grabs the baton and skillfully moves it forward. But the younger generation’s efforts to advance Lean management will be wasted if they adopt the thinking and methods of the older generation. Times have changed and much has been learned from the older generation’s dedicated efforts; the thinking and methods they used for advancing Lean management are no longer effective.
The younger generation’s efforts to advance Lean cannot come from the same base of knowledge as the older generation. The thinking and methods must evolve. New information is required to make progress in solving the biggest problem that Lean faces today: executive disinterest in Lean to replace classical management. That is the “elephant in the room” — the obvious and difficult problem that people prefer to ignore — but which can no longer be ignored. That new information is contained in my book, The Triumph of Classical Management Over Lean Management: How Tradition Prevails and What to Do About It.
The Triumph of Classical Management is a detailed analysis of Lean’s existential problem, and provides a wealth of important new information and countless ideas for countermeasures. This is not about selling books and earning a few dollars in profit. It is about ensuring that the traditions associated with classical management do not extinguish Lean management or TPS. Every young Lean leader should read this book and make it their strategy handbook for the second leg of the Lean relay race.
Consider this your official notification. It’s your time now and for the next 30 years.