The Work of Management: A Daily Path to Sustainable Improvement

Lean Enterprise Institute Inc.
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 The Work of Management

A Daily Path to Sustainable Improvement 

Author and CEO Jim Lancaster tells a practical and inspiring story on two levels. It’s a close-up, candid look at his personal transformation as a leader. It’s also a practical, in-depth, business case study of Lantech’s lean transformation, relapse, and comeback that American manufacturing – and other industries — can use to profitably transform themselves.

In his engaging story, Lancaster reveals:

Why Lantech, a stellar lean performer for a decade, struggled over time (like many other companies) to sustain gains and improve financial performance.Why 60 to 90 minutes of daily frontline management activities are a CEO’s most important minutes of the day for sustaining and growing their business.8 steps executives can take to lead experiments to create a bullet-proof, real-time daily management system without expensive consultants.Why daily management requires a major shift in managers’ mindsets and behaviors from giving orders and judging individuals on performance to asking questions and enabling good work by people at lower levels so metrics are routinely met.How daily management and sustainable continuous improvement produces dramatic positive effects on the bottom line.What happens in daily huddles where team members review how well they are sustaining gains and staying on track.How to practice true lean leadership in which "bosses" truly act like coaches -- not solving problems for people but asking them what they can to do help.How Lantech ties together all facets of the company in an integrated way (from sales to production).Why it deeply invests in the lean training and practice of every single employee every day.

CEO to CEO: “Screw up your courage”

Lancaster knows the changes needed for daily management require courage by CEOs. “I have always had a problem convincing CEOs of one simple thing,” Lancaster writes. “They need to take the time to go where value is actually created. They need to learn to see the work and to see how their management system utterly fails to support the daily work. My most important advice is to screw up your courage, put aside your daily distractions, and walk out into the work to see how value is created at the frontline.”  

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About the author

 James J. Lancaster

Jim Lancaster is CEO and owner of Lantech.com, LLC. Lantech is recognized as the leader in stretch wrap technology and innovation. The company has sales and manufacturing headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, sales and manufacturing facilities in the Netherlands, sales and service operations in Australia, and sales offices in China. Lantech manufactures packaging and material handling machinery, including stretch wrappers, conveyors, and case-forming equipment. Products are sold worldwide through a distributor and partner network, and directly to large consumer goods companies, such as Procter & Gamble, Lever Brothers, Nestlé, Miller Brewing, and Pepsi. Annual gross sales exceed $130 million and the company employs approximately 475 associates. 

Before joining Lantech, Jim worked in the financial industry with Catalyst Energy in New York City. In 1990, Jim joined Lantech as a Sales Manager in the Customs Machinery Group.  After several promotions, he became President/CEO in 1995. 

Lantech was one of the earliest companies to implement the Toyota Lean Principles in the early 90’s, as chronicled in Lean Thinking by James Womack and Dan Jones, the Harvard Business Review, and other publications. Jim has participated in the Lantech lean journey for the past 21 years and is now the lead executive driving lean throughout the organization.

Jim personally supports and advocates for Technical and Vocational education in Louisville, through his involvement and board Chairman position at Jefferson Community and Technical College and with many other educational related efforts.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Lean Enterprise Institute Inc.
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Published on
Jul 3, 2017
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Pages
171
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ISBN
9781934109540
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / General
Business & Economics / Industrial Management
Business & Economics / Leadership
Business & Economics / Management
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A personal guide for becoming an authentic leader

Whether you are just starting your leadership journey or leading a large organization, The Discover Your True North Fieldbook will help you find your leadership purpose, that internal Compass that provides direction and keeps you oriented—your True North. Through a series of reflective exercises, this Fieldbook helps you become a better leader by learning to be a more authentic one.

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The Art of the Possible Create an Organization with No Limitations offers instructive insight into what works in business, revealing how a few simple tenets can build long-standing excellence and success. An easy-to-use integrated leadership and management guide, this book revolves around the fact that strong, effective leadership is a requirement for any company hoping to become--or remain--relevant and competitive in the twenty-first century's fast-paced business environment.
Author Daniel M. Jacobs is one of the nation's leading authorities on public contracting, a position that comes with a considerable wealth of knowledge. In The Art of the Possible, he distills decades of front-line experience from the corporate world into seven chapters. Each explores one of seven practical and proven best practices: get focused, surround yourself with talent, think strategically, forge a high-performance team, manage the fundamentals, maintain discipline, and communicate. Packed with useful guidelines, checklists, and self-assessment tools, the primary objective of this straightforward book is to move the reader to action and to create an organization where things get done. Jacobs includes plenty of real-world examples and success stories, and his determined focus on the positive underscores the importance of hard work and commitment to the improvement of management performance. His seven best practices can be applied across a broad spectrum of businesses, from private industry and government agencies to non-profits and civic organizations, making The Art of the Possible: Create an Organization with No Limitations an indispensable resource for today's developing leaders.
Hailed by business leaders as "the kind of book that you really use to solve real problems and achieve real and lasting success" and "a relentless course for success using a step-by-step, straightforward, no-nonsense approach for the creation of an organization with no limits," this concise how-to is a must-read for anyone facing the unique challenges of today's economy.
A growing number of successful companies are turning to lean thinking to maintain a competitive edge in a global economy of falling prices, rising quality, and relentless competition. Yet while there are many excellent resources that teach both the tools and principles, no single book addresses what might be the most important lean discipline of all—the human challenge of creating and sustaining the commitment of the people doing the work.

The Gold Mine deftly weaves together the technical and human pieces of implementing lean manufacturing in an engaging story that readers will find both compelling and instructive. Authors Freddy and Michael Ballé have produced the first integrated and systematic approach to a set of ideas that have maximized value and minimized waste throughout the world.

At the heart of The Gold Mine is Bob Woods, a curmudgeonly sensei coaxed out of retirement by his son Mike to help boyhood friend Phil Jenkinson save his struggling company. Despite terrific products and a backlog of orders, Phil's company cannot generate enough cash from its operations to pay its bills. And so Mike enlists Bob to help his pal fix this crisis.

“You're trying to deal with your mess as if it was a technical problem,” Bob tells Phil. “Move this machine here, change this design there, which it is to some extent, but … it's all about people. You have a leadership problem not just a production or business problem.” As Phil begins to tackle the key challenges necessary to improve his company's operations, he comes to understand the deeper points of lean. Readers will also draw powerful insights from his journey.

The Gold Mine presents all the key lean principles, ranging from well-known ideas such as pull and flow, to lesser-known yet equally important principles such as jidoka and heijunka. The book also reveals lean as a system—using a realistic story to show how the principles are interrelated and how they lead to useful tools such as kanban or 5S. Freddy Ballé draws from his authority of one of Europe's preeminent lean veterans, bringing his knowledge to life in the context of a dramatic human story of managers and employees struggling to apply these tools and ideas in a successful turnaround.

“Mastery of the technical details of lean thinking is never enough. A transformation will fail without the most important element: the engagement of the people doing the work,” says publisher James Womack. “The Gold Mine is the first book to comprehensively introduce all the lean tools by means of a vivid personal story showing how hearts and minds are won over. It will spark ah-ha's from everyone who has been there and provide profound insight for those who are just getting started. I can't recommend it highly enough as a way to teach your people the key lean tools that always lead to success while also teaching, in the words of Bob Woods, that 'it's all about people.”

“Reading The Gold Mine is like eavesdropping on a sensei dispensing gems to a client,” says co-publisher Daniel Jones. “The Ballés draw from a remarkable perspective of wisdom and experience. Readers, especially those individuals working on the shop floor, will gain revelation and inspiration by living through the experiences of the hero. This is an experiential novel that will resonate deeply with people who relate it to their own lives. Managers and executives just beginning a lean transformation will learn valuable insights about how to sidestep the technical and people problems that lay ahead. And experienced lean thinkers will discover fresh insights about overcoming resistance to change.”

While The Gold Mine represents LEI's first book of fiction, Womack envisions it as a natural complement to the workbooks that have established themselves as the leading guides for learning lean. “The Gold Mine was created on the premise that people have different learning styles, and that a set of ideas based on the shop floor—where the action takes place—can be grasped intuitively by illustrating how one particular company responds,” he says. “It complements our established products by presenting a different but equally vital method of sharing knowledge.”

 "Lead With Respect is a terrific book that puts the elements of genuine motivation into a broader context and helps leaders translate those principles into action."

—Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human and Drive

"The Ballé books are a great way to get started or to speed up your pace of transformation, personal and organizational."

—Jim Womack, Founder of Lean Enterprise Institute

In their new business novel Lead With Respect, authors Michael and Freddy Ballé reveal the true power of lean: developing people through a rigorous application of proven tools and methods. And, in the process, creating the only sustainable source of competitive advantage—a culture of continuous improvement.

In this engaging and insightful story, CEO Jane Delaney of Southcape Software discovers from her sensei Andy Ward that learning to lead with respect enables her to help people improve every day. “For us, lean is all about challenging yourself and each other to find the right problems, and working hard every day to engage people in solving them,” he says. 

Lead With Respect’s timely message brings a new understanding of lean. While lean has become essential for companies to compete in today’s global economy, most practitioners see it as a rigorous focus on process to produce higher quality goods and services—a limited understanding that fails to realize the true power of this approach. This new novel by the Ballés, the third in a series that includes Shingo Research Award-winners The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager, breaks new ground by sharing huge amounts of practical information on the most important yet least understood aspect of lean management: how to develop people through a rigorous application of lean tools. You’ll learn:

How to apply Lead With Respect attitudes to the lean tools you are using now so that you develop a truly sustainable lean culture.What specific steps to follow to make lean leadership behaviors daily habits.How to manage with respect through the emotion, conflict, tension, and self-doubt that you’ll face during a lean transformation.
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 In this groundbreaking sequel to The Gold Mine, authors Michael and Freddy Ballé present a compelling story that teaches readers the most important lean lesson of all: how to transform themselves and their workers through the discipline of learning the lean system.

The Lean Manager: A Novel of Lean Transformation reveals how individuals can go beyond the short-term gains from tools, and realize a deeper, sustainable path of improvement. Full of human moments that capture the excitement and drama of lean implementation, as well as clear explanations of how tools and systems go hand-in-hand, this book will teach and inspire every person working to make lean a reality in their organization today.

This book will help you learn both the how of doing lean, as well as the why behind the tools, enabling you to become lean.

Lean is the most important business model for competitive success today. Yet companies still struggle to sustain enduring and deep-rooted business success from their lean implementation efforts.

The most important problem for these companies is becoming lean: how can they advance beyond realizing isolated gains from deploying lean tools, to fundamentally changing how they operate, think, and learn? In other words, how can companies learn to go beyond lean turnaround to achieve lean transformation?

The Lean Manager: A Novel of Lean Transformation, by lean experts Michael and Freddy Ballé, addresses this critical problem. As we move from what Jim Womack, author, lean management authority, and LEI founder, calls “the era of lean tools to the era of lean management,” The Lean Manager gives companies a definitive guide for sustaining their ability to learn and improve operations and financial performance, while continually developing people.

“The only way to become and stay lean is to produce lean managers,” says Womack. “Every isolated effort will recede—or fail—unless companies learn to use the lean process as a way of developing individual problem-solvers with the ownership, initiative, and know-how to solve problems, learn, and ultimately coach new individuals in this discipline. That’s why this book matters so much.”

The Lean Manager, the sequel to the Ballé’s international bestselling business novel The Gold Mine, tells the compelling story of plant manager Andrew Ward as he goes through the challenging but rewarding journey to becoming a lean manager. Under the guidance of Phil Jenkinson (whose own lean journey was at the core of The Gold Mine), Ward learns to use a deep understanding of lean tools, as well as a technical know-how of his plant’s operations, to foster a lean attitude that sustains continuous improvement.  

Where The Gold Mine shows you how to introduce a complete lean system, The Lean Manager demonstrates how to sustain it. Ward moves beyond fluency with tools to changing his behavior as a manager and leader. He shifts from giving orders and answers to asking the right questions so people identify and address problems. He learns how to use tools to unleash the creativity and motivation of people, so they learn how to solve problems as well as coach and teach others to solve problems. Ward learns how to create lean managers.

“I am excited and have hopes that this book will enlighten readers about what it really means to live a business transformation that puts customers first and does this through developing people,” said Jeffrey Liker, author of The Toyota Way and professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan. “People who do the work have to improve the work. There are tools, but they are not tools for ‘improving the process.’ They are tools for making problems visible and for helping people think about how to solve those problems.”

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