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Webinar: Michael Balle’s align goals to vision

Last Monday I attended a webinar about “aligning goals to vision” by Michael Ballé and the Lean Leadership Institute. It was the last of four webinars based on Michael’s book “Lead with respect”. You can find a summary with my notes here:

IMG_4333Michael shared many interesting thoughts:

  • Lean approach to vision can be described as “deliver quickly several times a day what people want“. The challenge in some cases is defining the customer (“people”) and value (“what people want”), especially in those businesses where lean has not been used very often.
  • Lean is unique defining customer needs because the needs are defined one by one. Lean abolishes generic customers: customers don’t have to fit my process anymore.
  • Companies have human capital (knowledge) and social capital (trust), both are critical for the company success. Social capital, hard to build, easy to lose.
  • Keep this always in mind when implementing lean:
    • Some work will not solve problems, it will help the corporation understand where problems are. Challenges are better understood by the corporation and therefore problem solving will be effective. This is critical.
    • Don’t standardize visuals. Let people create their own panels and change and adapt them as many times as needed. Be dynamic. Sometimes visuals are forced to be similar across the organization (trying to honor the Lean principle of standardization) but this is an error.
  • Lean financial impact analysis:ROCE = margin x turns
    • ROCE: return of capital
    • Margin: improves with Jidoka (first time quality that reduces waste)
    • Turns: improves with JIT (just in time that reduces Lead time and increases responsiveness to the customer)
  • The Lean dynamics:
    • Customer lifestyle: take care of customer’s problems at a reasonable cost.
    • Value analysis: improve quality by solving quality issues right away.
    • Value engineering: learn about customer preferences to figure out new features for your product or service.
  • Final summary: organize the company for learning (choose leaders for their ability to lead teams, teach and learn), not just for output (choose leaders for their ability to hit the numbers).


If you are interested in the webinars, they are available here:

I also recommend the book:

Let others pride themselves…


…about how many pages they have written; I’d rather boast about the ones I’ve read.

Jorge Luis Borges

Let’s admit it: Lean is always challenging and sometimes frustrating. The good news is that you are not alone. There are many experts out there who have taken the time to write and share their experiences, honouring the “develop people first” Lean principle. This is an absolutely personal selection of the books that have helped me the most:

  • “Lean thinking”, Womack, Jones (Introduction, General principles of Lean)
  • “Kaizen”, Imai (Introduction to Kaizen, Continuous improvement)
  • “The Toyota Way”, Liker (Introduction, General principles of Lean)
  • “Toyota Kata”, Rother (Problem solving, coaching, PDCA)
  • “The goal”, Goldratt, Cox (Introduction to the Theory of Constraints)
  • “Understanding variation”, Wheeler (Introduction to Statistical Process Control)
  • “The Lean manager”, Ballé, Ballé (Lean transformation, Lean management)
  • “Lead with respect”, Ballé, Ballé (Lean transformation, People development)
  • “Hoshin Kanri for the Lean enterprise”, Jackson (Introduction to Hoshin Kanri)
  • “Managing to learn”, Shook (The A3 management process)
  • “The new shop floor management”, Suzaki (Management practices to create a continuous improvement environment)
  • “Manager revolution!”, Hatakeyama (Fundamentals of management)
  • “It starts with one”, Black, Gregersen (Understanding organizational change)
  • “Creating a Lean culture”, Mann (Lean management)
  • “Learning to see”, Rother, Shook (Value Stream Mapping)
  • “The complete Lean Enterprise”, Keyte, Locher (Value Stream Mapping for office processes)
  • “Creating continuous flow”, Rother, Harris (Calculate and design your working areas for one piece flow)
  • “Creating level pull”, Smalley (Lean scheduling techniques)
  • “Making materials flow”, Harris, Harris, Wilson (Materials management and control)
  • “A revolution in manufacturing: The SMED system”, Shingo (SMED)
  • “Real numbers”, Cunningham, Fiume (Lean accounting)
  • “A factory of one”, Markovitz (Lean principles to help individuals improve their daily work)
  • “Lean Office and Service Simplified”, Locher (Lean tools and techniques for administrative / support processes)

Don’t miss the opportunity and read lean books and articles. Learn from others!

Book summary: Hoshing Kanri for the Lean Enterprise

“Hoshin Kanri for the Lean Enterprise” by Thomas L. Jackson is one of the best references for learning Hoshin and one of my favorite books about Lean. It includes a complete how-to guide and many examples and templates you can use. Of course a book alone is useless without practice, but it can make your first Hoshin journey (with the help of a coach/sensei) considerably easier.

Warning: This book contains the complete Hoshin Kanri system. Many times you don’t need all the tools, especially for the first Hoshin cycles, so just keep it simple. Hoshin is defined as “a set of experiments” so trial and error is part of the game.

Here you can find my book summary/notes, they are totally personal and absolutely incomplete, but maybe helpful for you!

Hoshin Kanri for the Lean Enterprise Summary