Perpetuating A Lean Mystery

Balle Mystery1

Aside from the compulsory obsequity, what is notable about this comment from my esteemed colleague, Dr. Michael Ballé, is his mistaken view that it remains a mystery as to why CEOs are uninterested in Lean management.

This so-called “mystery” has been comprehensively unraveled in the three books shown below. They are the result of 13 years of action — interactive research, training, and practice — as opposed to sitting on one’s hands and complaining about a puzzle that, in fact, no longer exists. Falsely perpetuating this as a mystery misleads people. Where is the “Respect for People” in that?

TCM II MM3

That Dr. Ballé and most of today’s prominent Lean promoters willfully ignore demystification is to unfortunately become the type of status quo “classical management” leader that they scorn. This, of course, reveals and affirms vested interests that are clearly at odds with the practical needs of their edacious customers and loyal followers.

Perhaps, somehow magically, several years from now, Dr. Ballé (or the Lean Enterprise Institute) will declare this to no longer be a mystery — much in the same way that in 2007 Dr. Womack declared the importance of “Respect for People,” six years after Toyota made “Respect for People” explicit in their Toyota Way 2001 document. Consider reading the posts “Much Study, Little Understanding” (2014) and “The Great Lean Mystery” (2016) to learn when “Respect for People” finally became a hot topic in Lean-world. Another mystery, solved.


Learn more about the long history of “Respect for People” in progressive management. Read “The Equally Important ‘Respect for People’ Principle” (originally published in 2008) and also see “Evolution of the ‘Respect for People’ Principle in Progressive Management” (2014).

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