Check out this tweet by Michael Ballé!
This is a damn good definition of Lean: “satisfying customers by developing people”. Great improvement from old-time definitions about “improving processes”, “eliminating waste” or the horrifying “cutting costs by firing people” (well, this has never been a serious definition, but sadly many people interpreted lean methods like that).
Please, don’t take me wrong: improving your processes and eliminating waste (mercilessly) are great things to do, but they are means, not a goal. Cutting costs is fantastic too, but it must be more the result of your efforts to create value and satisfy your customers than a goal by itself. And firing people, well… Developing people so that they can satisfy your customers is the only recipe to long-term success, which is the ultimate goal of any company.
Sometimes it is much easier to define something saying what it is not. Remember:
Lean is NOT a set of tools
Many Lean masters and experts struggle to write a good definition of what Lean is. Some say that Lean is a “set of principles”. Others say it is “culture”. I’m not sure about the best definition, but I am certain that “just a set of tools” is a wrong one.
It’s always a good time to read about Lean principles, some information here: