Lean is not "Mean"

For a lean, mean machine

Here’s another journalistically-lazy reference to “lean and mean,” this time in an announcement for an Intro to Lean seminar in Florida. Ugh. Lean is not “mean.” Lean calls for respect for employees and not laying them off as a result of lean improvements. It’s too bad that the words rhyme. It’s also too bad that too many companies misunderstand lean and use it to slash jobs. Oh well.

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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1 Comment

  1. rich cary says

    My eleven year old son tells me that when something is “bad” that means it’s really cool, and if he calls something “sick” that means it’s really awesome. Maybe “lean and mean” is really saying “lean with really great flow…?”

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