Michael Ballé

A lean view on racism

INTERVIEW – Racism is not a problem many lean thinkers are called to tackle in their daily lives at work, but that doesn’t mean that Lean Thinking has nothing to say about it.

The lean playbook

FEATURE – The author reflects on how lean organizations are reacting to the Covid-19 crisis and discusses the tough questions they are asking themselves.

Lean healthcare on the front lines

FEATURE – Our coverage of the Covid-19 emergency continues with an article discussing how lean healthcare principles can support and protect the professionals at the front line of this war.

Why bother with lean when we’re all doomed?

FEATURE – When faced with a crisis, like the current one, it is natural to wonder, “Why bother?”. Yet, this is when we most need a growth mindset and a framework like lean thinking to figure out a way forward.

Enhancing your gemba skills

FEATURE – Michael Ballé shares a few tricks he uses to escape his default thinking and ensure he makes the most of every gemba walk he goes on.

What does a lean sensei bring to the party?

FEATURE – Lean coaching is all the rage these days, but to what end? The author reframes the role of a sensei as an expert in achieving productivity by engaging everyone in kaizen.

The iron law of scale-up

FEATURE – As our social systems grow, we need an effective way to manage them. This makes bureaucracies an inescapable part of life for our society and businesses. But how can we mitigate their negative effects?

My father is my sensei

FEATURE – In this intimate account, the author reflects on the role of a lean sensei by looking back at what he’s learned from his own… his father.

The depth of lean thinking

FEATURE – To really embrace lean thinking means to ensure the bureaucratic structures in our organizations enable our people to excel, rather than constrain their creativity.
Michael Ballé yamazumi chart

Michael Ballé on how a yamazumi chart enables standard work

THE TOOLS CORNER – Standardizing the work is one of the fundamentals of lean thinking, but without a yamazumi chart visualizing it (and helping us to streamline it) this is impossible.
building trust lean company

Michael Ballé on how to really build trust in a lean company

FEATURE – In this interesting piece, the author explains why living up to the ideal of mutual trust is hard, and how lean tools can help us build a workplace based on respect.
Lean quality management Michael Ballé

How to ensure quality issues are detected and tackled fast

THE TOOLS CORNER – This month, the author discusses how we can ensure quality problems are identified early, tackled swiftly and prevented from reoccurring.
SMED lean tools Michael Ballé

Michael Ballé’s short guide to successfully using SMED

THE TOOLS CORNER – For the second article in our new series, the author offers a guide to the origins and use of one of lean's most important tools: SMED.
Kanban lean thinking

Unlocking the secrets of Kanban with Michael Ballé

THE TOOLS CORNER – In this new series, we go back to basics, offering a guide on how to implement some of the most important lean tools and explaining why they are so clever. First up, Kanban.
daruma dolls lean management

Michael Ballé on how to ensure lean leads to real advantages

FEATURE – Using the Japanese tradition of daruma dolls as an example, the author explains how to turn continuous improvement into concrete challenges – and, from that, real competitive advantage.
Michael Belle how lean works

Michael Ballé reflects on how lean really works

FEATURE – Continuously studying the challenges we meet and the responses we devise, lean gives us endless opportunities to learn. The author goes back to basics, reflecting on some core lean premises.
Michael Ballé observe orient and learn by doing

To master lean thinking, lead with lean thinking

FEATURE – When lean seems to fail, leaders should persist and work even harder to bring people on the journey - by observing the situation, providing clear success criteria, and learning together on the job. That's what leading with lean is about.
Michael Balle on Lead with Lean

Michael Ballé introduces his new book Lead with Lean

VIDEO - The author of Lean with Lean explains why he published a collection of papers rather than a business novel - his signature writing style - or a manual. Experience lean through the eyes of one of its greatest students... one a-ha moment at a time.