The gift of learning: Lean or cultural change

Share: Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail


I often get asked about books I would recommend to help individuals learn more about lean or cultural change. Here are a few from that list, it is not in any order just pick the one that suits you and your current stage of the journey. These books are ones I return to time after time to re-read a chapter as I get those aha moments delivering the Impact Masterclass with companies.


Out of a crisis – Dr W Edwards Deming

In this book, Deming explains why the success of an enterprise relies on the ability of the transformation of the management philosophy. Why constancy of purpose is so important over the fad of the moment.

Deming says the goal should be to improve overall productivity and the key to this is understanding the nature of variation and having operational definitions. Everyone doing his best is not the answer. They must change what they are doing and the first step is to learn how to change. He lists 14 points which he calls principles of transformation along with a list of disease and obstacles to change.


The dance of change – by Peter Senge, Art Kleiner, Charlotte Roberts, Richard Ross, George Roth, Bryan Smith

Why does change fail and what can we do about it, some excellent tips and techniques to bring about transformational change without the risk of failure.

Change is best carried through by the many, not by just the hero-leader. Ten challenges to the initiation and sustaining of change are elaborated, illustrated by a rich range of case studies and supported by a practical checklist.

We all know that change and innovation are of the essence for organisations today and in future. The bad news, according to Peter Senge, is that most change initiatives fail. The good news is that Senge and his co-authors think they know why and what to do about it. Senge does not believe transformational change can be led by hero leadership and concentrates on building communities of leaders, there are plenty of case studies from organisations such as British Petroleum, Dupont, Ford, General Electric, Harley-Davidson, Hewlett-Packard, Mitsubishi, Shell, Toyota, the US Army, and Xerox


The gold mine, The Lean Manager Lead with respect, and soon to be out Lean Strategy – Freddy and Michael Ballé

These books are written as a novel. They are great fun to read and offer some fantastic learning insights about the human side and the technical side of introducing and sustaining lean. The first in the trilogy introduces us to an operations manager who is struggling to make money from his business and calls on a friend’s dad to come out of retirement and act as sensei to help turn the business around. The following volumes then follow his journey as he moves up the organisation and develops other managers and factories until the final volume when his protégé begins work with an IT supplier.


The art of possibility – Ben Zander and Roasamund Stone Zander

A shoe factory sends two marketing scouts to a region of Africa to study the prospects for expanding the business. One sends back a telegram saying,


The other writes back triumphantly,


The book offers 12 practices to help you shift your perspective and open new possibilities for your life. You may not be able to change the circumstances you’re facing but you can change how you deal with those situations.

The first one and key for anyone in any situation – It’s all invented! When you’re looking at a problem, all the assumptions you make about it are in your mind. The Zanders remind us that a problem is not simply a half-story you tell yourself, but rather something you make up entirely.

“The frames our minds create define – and confine – what we perceive to be possible. Every problem, every dilemma, every dead end we find ourselves facing in life, only appears unsolvable inside a particular frame or point of view.
Enlarge the box, or create another frame around the data, and problems vanish, while new opportunities appear.”



Share: Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail