Jeff Liker Webcast Archive Online


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Here is the archive of the Industry Week webcast from last week featuring Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way. You have to register through Industry Week, but they will let you download the slides.

“Siren Song” alert — the 2nd half of the webcast is from a software company.

There was one comment made, by the moderator from Industry Week, that I didn't like. She repeated the cliche of:

“You can change the workers or you can CHANGE the workers,” meaning that you can either A) influence them or lead them to change their behavior or B) get rid of them and get new workers.

I think this is a disrepectful comment. I'm particularly sensitive about people making disparaging comments about the “lowest” level in the organization. Lean failures are hardly ever the fault of production workers (if you know of a case, please email me). Lean success is the result of good leadership, combined with adoption of lean concepts and tools. Lean failures have to be traced back to management, at some level.

Am I more comfortable saying, “You can change your CEO or you can CHANGE your CEO”? Yes. I'm also more comfortable using that kind of discussion about middle managers and front-line supervisors. It's hard to generalize, but I bet that level is often the layer where lean committment is the weakest, where people are defending the status quo.

What do you think?

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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