Womack & Defining Lean


Recently, I saw Jim Womack give two talks at the Global Lean Healthcare Summit. One was a talk that could have applied, about Lean in a general sense, to a manufacturing audience as well as a healthcare crowd.

One point Jim kept bringing up was the need for simple definitions of Lean. Most of you are probably familiar with the five principles of Lean from the book Lean Thinking.

Not that it was a terribly complicated definition, but now Jim is talking about Lean as three principles. As he puts it, “If you like the definition, use it, otherwise you can come up with a different one.”

  • Purpose – start with a definition of your purpose, why are you in business?
  • Process – define your processes and work toward perfection constantly, focus on your processes, not just on results
  • People – Involve and develop your people.

It's reminiscent of a different Toyota “3P” model.

What models or frameworks do you use for giving people a brief overview into the Lean approach?

Updated: Here is a link to the LEI page with videos of Jim talking about these 3 P's.

What do you think? Please scroll down (or click) to post a comment. Or please share the post with your thoughts on LinkedIn – and follow me or connect with me there.

Did you like this post? Make sure you don't miss a post or podcast — Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.

Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

Get New Posts Sent To You

Select list(s):
Previous articleA Positive (Lean) Approach to Improving Healthcare
Next articlePrevention and Odds, Protecting Children with Lean Thinking
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.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.