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Lean Challenge Response: David Meier


Here is a response to the Lean Challenge contest entry (click here to read the situation submitted by Rich, a blog reader). Click on the “Contest” link at the bottom of this post to see more responses. If you have advice for Rich, please leave a comment on the main page here.

This response is from author, consultant, and Lean Blog contributor David Meier. David is a former Group Leader at Toyota and is the co-author of the The Toyota Way Fieldbook and the upcoming book Toyota Talent, which can be pre-ordered on

David wrote a very long response to Rich's challenge, so we created a PDF file that you can download here. Below is the introduction to his advice:

There are really several questions and issues here. One of the problems with lean or TPS is that no issue really stands alone. These issues are all intertwined into your overall lean system, which is what makes implementation such a challenge, and of course so interesting! If it were an easy task everyone would do it, and there would be no need for highly capable lean leaders! I like how Rich concluded his question— he goes on teaching and coaching in spite of the numerous challenges. These are just a few of the many challenges! We must continue on in spite of the challenges.

I will break the questions down into three main themes:

  1. The issue of urgency.
  2. The use of systems and standards and the need to deviate from them.
  3. Creating effective standardized work and audits for leaders.

Click here to download David's full Challenge Response (pdf file).

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. 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 book is the anthology 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. He is currently writing his next book, tentatively titled Measures of Success.

  1. Kate says

    Hi Mark,

    I’m reading my way through the archives and Rich’s challenge is very interesting, but I see that the link to David’s response is broken. Would it be possible to get a copy?

    Thank you!

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