LeanBlog Podcast #21 – Norman Bodek, “Building People”


LeanBlog Podcast Episode #21 features our friend and frequent guest, Norman Bodek, noted lean author, consultant, and President of PCS Press.

In this Podcast, we talk about how Lean should be good for a company's employees, that Lean and the Toyota Production system are really about building people and investing in them rather than laying people off.

Norman's previous Podcast episodes can be found on the Podcast main page. Here is a link to Norman's books via Amazon.com.

MP3 File

Show Notes and Approximate Time, Episode #21

  • 2:00 Question from a blog reader: Is lean good for employees in the long term, or is it just good for the company and for management?
  • 2:40 “Unfortunately, many companies are implementing lean to make more money, only…. without understanding the full power of the Toyota model”
  • 3:00 Toyota not only builds cars, it builds people
  • 4:45 Toyota has one team leader for every 4 to 7 people (as opposed to companies that often have a 100 to 1 ratio)
  • 5:20 Toyota's Gary Convis
  • 6:30 Toyota's two pillars: 1) Just-in-Time and 2) Respect for People — the second pillar is now this instead of “Jidoka” (quality at the source)??
  • 8:30 As Deming said, you have to root out fear from the organization, it's a form of waste that comes from viewing people as expendable
  • 10:15 Examples of how Toyota has invested in people over time, made use of their talents
  • 11:20 When has the “mass production” system ever been good for people?
  • 12:15 Norman's Quick and Easy Kaizen
    , making work exciting by getting ideas and suggestions from employees
  • 16:50 “I want you to come up with ideas to make your work easier, to make your work more interesting…” that empowers people, as opposed to all decisions coming from the top down
  • 18:15 “What's the ROI of bringing in Norman Bodek?”
  • 19:30 “There's nothing magical that Toyota's doing that American companies can't do!”
  • 19:40 The book Norman likes, Getting the Right Things Done and the Hoshin Kanri process
  • 20:30 Norman, Gary Convis, and the A3 report

If you have feedback on the podcast, or any questions for me or my guests, you can email me at leanpodcast@gmail.com or you can call and leave a voicemail by calling the “Lean Line” at (817) 993-0630 or contact me via Skype id “mgraban”. Please give your location and your first name. Any comments (email or voicemail) might be used in follow ups to the podcast. Click here for the main LeanBlog Podcast page with all previous episodes.


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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