Leadership and Management Insights

"I am totally impressed by the breadth and depth of Bob's knowledge and how clearly he communicates the truth about Lean in his blogs and writings. He is possibly the greatest leader of true Lean Thinking alive in the world today." - John D. 

"Bob's writing is passionate and provocative, stretching us to consider the implications as it touches on various aspects of society, economy, politics, and management. - Bruno G.

All blog posts © Bob Emiliani

Should You Forget About Psychological Safety?
What Surprised Me The Most
Bob Emiliani’s Tips for Writing Books
The Backstory – A Few More Thoughts
Ten Truths Lean People Need to Embrace About Lean
Let’s Improve Together
Understanding Lean Management
The Lean Spectrum
Barriers to Moving Forward
How to Create a Lean Organization
Leadership Behaviors?
Your Emotional Connection to Lean
An Irrational Fear
Keynote Talk Video
Jumping to Solutions
Show, Don’t Tell. Isn’t That Right?
Let’s Get Real
Scientific Management Compendium
Books for Curious CI Professionals
Deming: A Reassessment
Take the Next Big Step
TPS and Mother Earth
April Fools’ Posts
Most Leadership Development Training is Fluff
Revitalizing Leadership Training
The Backstory – The Workmanship of Leaders
“Insights for Improvement” Seminar Series
Why is Deming Irrelevant to CEOs?
Leadership Information Processing
The Backstory – A Changed Perspective
The Laws of Business Thermodynamics
So You Want to Be a Lean Professional?
American Higher Education
Rethinking Strategy
Simplifying Leadership
Kaizen Kaizen Kaizen
Now You Know!
What I Learned
Engage or Ignore?
The Backstory – The Aesthetic Compass
New Bob Emiliani Web Site!
Words and Facts Matter
Revisiting The Toyota Way 2001
Rethinking the Need for Lean
Cancelling Lean Culture
Mechanistic Approach to Status
The Satisfying Spectacle of Classical Management
The Machine Paradigm
Lean’s Culture War
Addition Still Beats Subtraction
Two Lean Journeys
From Thought Leadership to Banal Thoughts
Cuckoo for Kata
The Problem with Lean Thinking
Taiichi Ohno the Businessman
Great Expectations
Apparent Problems More Profitable Than Actual Problems
Misusing the “Respect for People” Principle
Perpetuating A Lean Mystery
Ohno’s Theory of Nonproductivity
Twenty-Four Books
Helpful Feedback to “Another Lean Fan”
Who to Blame for Leaders’ Declining Interest in Lean?
Go See? What For?
Lean and Learning
Lean and Lying
Courage and Bravery
The Backstory – Wheel of Fortune
How My Work Has Evolved
Lean and Iconoclasm
The Disaster of Lean Training
The Fraudulent Claim of High Wages
Cold, Crass, and Graceless
Norman Bodek (1932-2020)
The 737 Max and CSCU Board of Regents
Banished from Lean World
No Santa Claus?
Stupidity at Scale
Mass Producing Happiness
Process-Results Dichotomy
Lean — Survival or Decline
Guide to Books
Are Lean People Stupid?
Move Over Lean!
Wonder No More
The Backstory – Improvement
Lean HE2020 Global Conference Presentation
Second Virtual Lean Mini-Conference
Betting It All On Leadership Behaviors
Confronting the Arguments Against Lean Management
Methods for Changing Leaders: A3 or Kaizen?
Tired of Hearing About Toyota?
What Happened to Lean?
Recent WTFU Articles
Picking Winners
Akio Toyoda’s View of TPS: A Critical Analysis
First Virtual Lean Mini-Conference
Ahead Yet Still Far Behind
Lean Management Seen as Corruption
The Awesomeness of Lean
Get Real: Most Students Hate Classroom Teaching
Lean’s Tragic Path Dependence
How Lean Induces Debilitating Cognitive Dissonance
The Enemy of Lean is Classical Management
What Comes After Lean?
In Praise of Experts
Love for Ohno, Hate for Taylor?
Boeing 737 Max and Lean Transformation
A Consistent Message
Energizing the Lean Movement
Petition to End Classical Management
Lean Must Learn From Black Lives Matter
What If….?
Dr. Emiliani’s No’s for Lean
The Lean Whiners
The Case Against Lean
Comfort in Knowing
Means and Ends in Management Systems
Classical Management Cycle
The Transformation of Lean
Appearance vs. Reality
Lean Anguish
Lean’s Crumbling Foundation
What is Lean’s Future?
The Backstory – Management Mysterium
Is Lean Toast?
Lean and COVID-19
Lean Got a Bad Start
Management IQ
Narrow Thinking, Narrow Results
Wanting to Know, Preferring to Ignore
The Backstory – Irrational Institutions
The Yin and Yang of Management
Criticism of Triumph of Classical Management
The Backstory – Eliminating Waste in Teaching
How Many Genbas are There?
Creating a Lean Culture
Winning With Lean
Psychological Safety and Lean
Documenting Modern Progressive Management
Management Darwinism
Data-Driven Delays
Are You a Lean Expert?
We Succeed When We All Agree?
Toyota’s Free Riders
Lean, Agile, and Six Sigma
Four Types of Lean People
Understanding the Institution of Leadership
Radicals Among Conservators
Lean Fighting Blind
Waste is a Feature, Not a Bug
Lean Leaders Impede the Advancement of Lean
Modernizing the Practice of Management
Dr. Deming’s SoPK and Dr. Emiliani’s SoPP
Lean Can’t Fail!
Lean Graft Incompatibility
Static vs. Dynamic Lean
In Search of Lean CEOs
System T and Lean
Bookmarks for Your Favorite Lean Books
The Worst Lean Advice
Business as a State of Confusion
How Soft Skills Impair Problem-Solving
The Bad Boy of Lean
Promotion of Lean Must Evolve
The Shingo Experiment
Fulfillment by Status Quo, Inc.
What About the Past State?
Where Scientific Thinking Lives and Dies
Passing the Lean Baton
The Elephant in the Room
Sharing the Knowledge
Profoundly Antagonistic Systems
Dismantling Classical Management
Escape the Ideological Bubble
Lean Football
That’s Not My Job
Lean is an Intangible Asset
Business as Experimental Science
Truth Has Consequences
Selling Lean to Business Leaders
The Outcome of Serious Research
The Leader’s Prerogative
How to Never Run Out of Ideas
Why Do CEOs Hate Operations?
One Strategy, Two Paths
Management as an Engineering Problem
Lean and the Burning Platform
Lean Retrospective
Why Business Leaders Vote “No” for Lean
Reimagining Lean
Lean People Never Understood CEOs
How Leaders Sabotage Lean
Money vs. Process View of Cost
Business Leaders’ Case for Ignoring Lean
The Problem Lean May Never Overcome
Is Lean Too Arrogant to Save Itself?
What’s Holding Lean Back?
Lean Transformation is Not Difficult
Lean and The Corporation
Lean Warning Label
The Seven Laws of Lean Disillusionment
The Business Philosophy Triangle
My Contributions to Lean
The Backstory – The Triumph of Classical Management
Solving the Lean Transformation Problem
The Role of a Professor in the Lean Movement
Lean Fatigue
Lean Parody Advertisements
Freeish Trade, Economic Nationalism, and Lean
Why University Teaching Rarely Improves
The Rewards of Teaching
What Gets Measured Gets Managed?
Maintain Academic Excellence?
Creative Graduation Ceremony
The Toxic University
Excellence in Teaching
Feedforward to Students
The Backstory – Conversations with Taiichi Ohno
It’s Time for Colleges to Cut Costs
Learning to See
Professor Emiliani’s “Nos” for Teaching
Handmade Visual Controls
How Would You Answer These Questions?
Wacky Lean House
Why Aren’t You Solving Ohno’s Problem?
The Backstory – Critique of Lean
Comparing TPS and Lean
Producing Business Results With Lean
Why Lean Keeps Thriving
Reusable Processes
Shingijutsu Super Kaizen Workshop
Coaching Lean Without Knowing
Higher Education’s Ultimate Failure
The One Difficult Thing Hypothesis
History Matters
Critic and Conscience of the Lean Movement
Teachers, Trainers, Coaches, or Faculty?
Lean: Past, Present, and Future
Critique of “Let’s Ban the Eighth Waste”
Digital Transformation & Lean Transformation
Digital Transformation vs. Lean Transformation
How to Introduce Lean to People
Final Exams, Final Mistake
Leadership Development for Business Impact
Mother Kaizen
The Greatest Business Problem Ever
Improvement in Higher Education, Circa 1912
Evidencing Improvement
New Mindset for Higher Ed Leaders
Why Universities Don’t Improve
Introducing Lean in Your Organization
Do University Leaders Care About Teaching?
Hopes and Dreams
Economists, Economic Growth, and Lean
Is Lean Now “Baked In?”
Lean Without Drama
Spooky Historical Parallels
Lean Strategy
Generic Brand or Name Brand?
A Little Bit of Knowledge Can Be…
Lean Thinking vs. Kaizen Thinking
Interview in Production Manager Magazine
Unbundling Higher Education
Toyota’s One Best Way
Eight Questions I Get From My Students
Kaizen Evolution
Kaizen: A Comprehensive Business Strategy
Kaizen: A Simple Leadership Development Strategy
Kaizen: A Simple Innovation Strategy
Kaizen: A Simple Employee Wellness Strategy
Kaizen: A Simple Tax Abatement Strategy
Critique of “Dealing with Lean’s Crazy Relatives”
Thoughts on “Lean Thinking at 20”
Lean Leadership Training: From Batch to Flow
Thoughts On “Lean Thinking – The Making of a Book”
Fear of a Lean Planet
20th Anniversary of Lean Thinking
The Yen, the Dollar, and TPS
Flipped Classroom? Yawn.
What is Lean Without Respect for People?
The Great Lean Mystery
The Start of Lean Leadership
Copying Toyota
The Improvement Mindset Is Rare
Performance-Based College Funding
3P for Lean Transformation
Smart Leaders, Dumb Decisions
Evolution in Lean Teaching
What Leaders Won’t Do
Lean is Illegitimate. Or is it?
Fealty to the Lords of Lean
Time to Refocus on Kaizen
The Humanity of Shingijutsu-Kaizen
Lean’s Next 25 Years
Lean Transformation Variation
Employees Goofing Off
Lean Success and Lean Failure
An Engineering Approach to Leadership
Breathtaking Higher Education Innovation!
Is Lean the Same as TPS?
Improving How Universities Improve
Lean’s Holy Grail
Toyota-Style Kaizen
Improving Leadership Processes
Motivations and Aspirations
Personalizing Discovery and Learning
The Trouble With Tenure
Criticizing Lean
Teaching Lean Leadership
Evolving Out of Need
Lean Transformation Failure Analysis
How Economics Disrespects People
How Kaizen Restores Craftsmanship to Work
Lean Can Learn from History
Lean’s Bad Timing
What is Lean Management?
Lean’s Promise Broken
What’s Your Lean Provenance?
Lean and State Government Agency Leaders
Lean Management and the Public Good
Why Business Schools Should Teach Lean Management
Lean MBA or Conventional MBA?
Higher Ed’s Big Lie: Academic Excellence
Existential Threats to Lean
A Critique of LeanCT
Lean Hypocrisy
What Went Wrong?
The Power of Kaizen
Lean Management (1988-2026)
Lean’s Midlife Crisis
The Backstory – Evolution of Lean Leadership Training
The Illusion of Understanding
Something Revolutionary Seen as Ordinary
The Lean Movement’s Strategic Errors
A Marker of Lean Success
Books for Teaching Lean Management
Shingijutsu Super-Genba-Kaizen Workshop
Inept vs. Immoral Leadership
Higher Learning and Lean Management
Riches of Embarrassment
The Backstory – Lean Leadership Research
Lean Governor, Anti-Lean Board of Regents
Reefer Sanity
Additive Leadership
Where Unqualified Means Qualified
University Annual Budget Process
Research and Teaching: A Great Pairing
Teaching Across the Curriculum
Treating Management Psychosis
What Do Professors Actually Do?
Resources for Teaching Lean Management
Back to Basics
The Backstory – Shingijutsu-Kaizen
New Book: Shingijutsu-Kaizen
The Lean-Industrial Complex
The Rise of Credentials
Growing Tomatoes
Searching For Lean Sustainability
Standards for Faculty
Observe and Ask “Why?”
The Backstory – Speed Leadership
A Shameful Legacy
Run Universities Like Businesses
Methodological Errors In Lean Government
Outsourcing Fallacies in Higher Education
Bet On A Boiler
Abnormal Conditions and Lean Oddities
Methodological Errors in Lean for Higher Ed
The Backstory – Kaizen Forever
Terrific Blog Posts!
Winning Over Business Traditionalists
I Called It!
Seddon’s Amazing Discovery
Shared Values for REAL Lean
Toyota’s Supermarket Method
Kaizen for Higher Education
What’s Not To Like About Lean?
Lean Higher Ed Conference Presentation
New Books: Lean Teaching and Lean University
New Book: Kaizen Forever
Managerialism In The University
The Most Important Thing
Kaizen Your Political Skills
Graduation Day
Removing Confirmation Bias Against Lean
Need My Help?
Lean’s Kiss Of Death
Finding Great Teachers After Graduation
Flaws In Lean
Lean Intellectualism
2015 Lean In Higher Ed Conference
Lean Overproduction
How To Get Started With Lean In Higher Ed
Exploring Leadership
Political vs. Merit-Based Change
The Five-Day Kaizen
Politics and Public Universities
Coaching Leaders
Good For You To Know
Third Lean Higher Ed Conference
What You Should Get Out of College
Abnormal Condition Alert!
Why Skills Matter
Big Data, Leaders, and Lean
LEI/LEA Lean Transformation Model
Student Success
Reverse Toyota Way
Engaging Faculty in Lean Teaching
Origin Of The Phrase “Kaizen Event”
When Higher Ed Is Just A Game
Defining “Respect for People”
Share The Knowledge
Course Blueprint
The Economic Benefits of Lean
Effective Online Courses
Political Correctness Comes To Lean
Higher Education Quality
Who Is Your Leader?
Lean for University Leaders
The Lean Refinery
Imaginary Customers
The Backstory – Lean Behaviors
College Productivity
Evolution and Future of Lean
“All Deans Are A**holes”
Toyota’s Secret
A Lost Decade
Grants For Improving Teaching
Much Study, Little Understanding
Educating Minds Online
Chihiro Nakao: An Amazing Teacher
Buyers’ Market Changes Everything
Ohno’s Problem-Solving Methods
Professors’ Credibility Problem
Perfect Misunderstanding
Third International Conference on LSS for Higher Ed
Leading With Respect Is The Old Standard
Students Must Demand Change
64th Japan Genba Kaizen Seminar
Weekly Learning Reflections
The Human Case For Lean
Bosses Flunk Critical Thinking
Yasuhiro Monden
Quality Education Charade
The Backstory – First Lean Leadership Course
Education and Satisfaction
Shifting Definitions of “Lean Thinking”
Enrollment Goals and Tuition Revenue
Stasis In Teaching
Leading Without Respect
The Squeaky Wheel
Class Participation
Graduating Defective Products
Restoring Symmetry
Breaking Symmetry
Is Teaching A Profession?
Better Than Shared Governanace
Despoiling The “Respect For People” Principle
The Value Of Higher Education
Lead With Respect
Taming The Faculty
How I Teach Lean Leadership
Spotting Great Teachers
Imperiling Student Success
The Backstory – Writing In A Tough Tone
Culture of Success
Treat Students As Adults
Two Paths To Lean Leadership
Hire More Faculty
Focus On Flow
A Better Way To Teach
The University As Manufacturer
Reflecting On Shingijutsu-Kaizen
Skype With The Lean Professor
Nakao-san and Shingijutsu-Kaizen
Right Effect, Wrong Causes
Lean In Higher Education
Selling Change to Finance VPs
Opportunity To Do Good
Priceless Small Improvements
No Call, No Response
Fat Behaviors Forever
Who Needs to Improve?
Lean Curiosities
Did We Succeed Or Fail?
Motivating Leaders to Embrace Lean
Worrying About Worries
Are College Presidents Overpaid?
Secrets Of Lean Leadership
Lean Training Lineage Matters
Lessons Well Learned
Early History of CI in Higher Ed
Settings For Lean Success
The Value Of A Professor
No Confidence In No Confidence Votes
The Clear Solution: Leadership Processes
More Than Leadership Behaviors
Leadership Behaviors: The Path To Lean Culture
Lean Teaching Visual Controls
The Implied Threat
Thoughts on Lean Higher Ed Conference
Lean Higher Ed Conference – Day 2
Lean Higher Ed Conference – Day 1
Don’t Wait For Your Leaders
Human Superstorms
Skilled Educational Labor
The Musician And The Manager
Engaging Colleagues and Administrators
When Leaders Improve, Everyone Improves
That’s True, As Far As It Goes
Metrics Madness
My Students’ Visual Controls
Visual Controls To Improve Student Learning
Transforming The System – Update 1
Is History Repeating Itself?
Is Everything We Do Value-Added?
Why No “Respect for People?”
Evolution Of The RFP Principle
Evolution Of The RFP Principle
My Student Course Evaluations
Lean Capital
Leadership Tips for College Presidents
Shingijutsu-Kaizen Conference: Day 1
Shingijutsu-Kaizen Conference: Day 2
A Tribute to Loretta
Fewer Problems, More Time
Lean Leader’s Visual Control
Accreditation Process Improvement
Influential Research Papers
Sustaining Lean
Improving Critical Thinking
Peak Lean
Boss, Know Your CI People
Transparency and Technology
Ignore Change Management
Lots of Good Ideas, Except One
Human Touch vs. Technology
Labor Unions and Lean
Quality of Lean
Continuous Flow University
Theories Have Consequences
Students At Risk
Know Who You Are Talking To
The Backstory – Lean Teaching
Students’ View of Online Courses
June 2014 Lean In Higher Ed Conference
More Learning From Mistakes
The Backstory – Lean Leadership
The MBA: Relevance Lost
Read To Succeed
Grasping at Competencies
Learning From Mistakes
What Employers Want – Part 3
“Sales Over Safety, Profit Over Principle”
Problem-Solving Behind the Front Line
Surviving the Competition
Learning To Think
Competition in Higher Education
Observing Lean Evolve
Good Writer or Good Thinker?