Resources: To Grow & Win With

For Help Along the Way…

Managing to Learn Using the A3 management process to solve problems, gain agreement, mentor, or lead — by John Shook  This is a must-have practical publication that continues to stay at the top of the bestseller list.  This unique book is written to provide you with your personal Sensei to accelerate understanding. John Shook is the first North American to head up a Toyota production line in Toyota City. He brought the culture to NUMMI. This book reveals the thinking underlying the vital A3 management
process at the heart of lean management and lean leadership – it’s must in every library.

How to Do a Gemba Walk – A Leaders Guide – By Michael Bremer. Here is a practitioner’s guide to Gemba Walking to Go See, Ask Why, and Show Respect to more actively engage people in performance improvement. This ‘how to guide’ describes the reasons for doing a Gemba Walk: 1) Clarify purpose 2) Process Understanding 3) Engage People. The walks give an opportunity for leaders to discover barriers that inhibit people’s ability to do great work; to coach; to build consensus; to better make important goals. Examples are drawn from OC Tanner, Autoliv, Toyota, Cogent Power. Your benefit: a better under-standing of the full Horizontal Value Stream Flow to your customers.

Gemba Walks Expanded 2nd EditionThe Gemba walking standard — by Jim Womack
Over the past 30 years, Womack has developed a method of visiting and walking the Gembas at countless companies and keenly observing flow & how people work together to create value. He has shared his thoughts and discoveries from these visits with the lean community through a monthly letter. In this edition he has selected and organized his key eLetters plus an additional 12 new essays. As only a founder can, Jim shares his historical perspectives, essays, and one accurately describing how the name “Lean” was selected.

The Innovator’s DilemmaWhen New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail – 2016 (Rev) by Clayton M. Christensen.   This book was revised in 2000 and again in early 2016 to bring it up to date with emerging technology and new disruptions from entrants creating entirely new markets. While the majority of the case studies and examples focus on businesses in the late 20th century, they are more than relevant today—and there is much to learn from the successes and failures of the past that can be applied to tomorrow’s innovations.  The book offers critical insight into what drives adoption of sustaining business development and what prevents organizations from successfully adopting disruptive practices. While some of the industries and businesses may seem outdated, the fundamental principles that governed the successes or failures of different companies still resonate today.  This book was referenced in the 3-Part Carmageddon series in the December, January, and February ATJ Blogs

The Innovator’s Solution – Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth – 2003 – by Clayton M Christensen, and Michael E Raynor.  This is an innovation classic recognized by Steve Jobs & Jeff Bezos.  Clay Christensen’s work underpins today’s most innovative leaders and organizations. It’s a classic work on disruption and confronting the growth challenges.  This definitive work is for anyone trying to transform their business right now. Both authors expand the idea of disruption and explain how companies can and should become disruptors themselves by showing how timely and relevant these ideas continue to be in today’s hyper-accelerated business environment.  The authors identify the forces that cause managers to make bad decisions as they package/shape new ideas—and offer new frameworks to help create the right conditions, at the right time, for a disruption to succeed.  It’s a must-read for senior managers and business leaders responsible for innovation and growth, as well as members of their teams.  The book is a necessary addition to any innovation library.

The Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018World Economic Forum.   Ever wonder how Switzerland, Singapore, and the US earned their 1-2-3  rating from among the 138 nations measured in 2017-18?  Or, if there are things your team could learn from them and apply in your world?   There’s a ton of solid information & real-world value in this year’s annual report produced for the Davos World Economic Forum where world leaders attend to both sell, and to measure their competitiveness against the world.  By going to  you can download a wealth of White Papers, Reports, Presentations and videos and more.  The data is easy to read with good explanations.  It is especially of value for those looking for a handle on how to measure ‘total competitiveness’ against the 12 pillars of competitiveness”  1. Institutions  2. Infrastructure  3. Microeconomic environment  4. Health and primary education  5. Higher education and training  6. Goods market efficiency  7.  Labor market efficiency  8. Financial market development  9. Technological readiness  10. Market size  11. Business sophistication, and  12.Innovation.

The amount of data is huge.  Our consortia used this data to get a feel for what is needed to take on the world.  For Canada it shows we have work to do because are lowest pillars are Innovation and Business sophistication. The last pillar measures how effectively a company can transform an innovation, or product, into a global winner.  For the reasons spelled out in this Devos assessment, Canada dropped to 15th place from last year’s 13th position because of these two weaknesses .

NEW 2017: The Lean Strategy – Using Lean to Create Competitive Advantage, Unleash Innovation, and Deliver Sustainable Growth – 2017 – By Michael Balle, Daniel Jones, Jacques Chaize, and Orest Fiume. ATJ’s first look, senses the arrival of a big missing piece for leaders fashioning their strategies for a critical lean transformation that can deliver sustainable business results. Much depends on the right vision; the right strategy; and the right integration and deployment of resources that never loses sight of the customer. This new book provides the proven thinking and steps for the critical assembly of a lean strategy that enables the exploitation of all resources and thinking that is led by a leadership that believes in a people-centric growth/learning culture.

Everything I Know About LEAN I Learned in First Gradeby Robert Martichenko.  Here is a very powerful ‘door-to-understanding’ the basics of lean for just about everyone.  It’s an uncomplicated, introductory and well written and designed for  anyone at any age who would benefit by knowing Lean’s basics.  That would include students, family members, as a primer for university students and especially managers at all levels who are beginning with Lean at ‘ground zero’.  Few appreciate that Lean is now in every area of human endeavour – and it is transforming lives.   It is an ego-busting book whose  powerful revelations of the simplicity underlying all the things we tend to over-complicate. A great gift to family, friends, business leaders, for those teachable moments when they come along.

 The 8th Habit of Highly Effective Peoplefrom effectiveness to greatness – by Stephen R. Covey.  This is a book that you will learn from -and may never forget because of its simple, practical , leadership & Lean-relevant thinking.  See if you can still buy the earlier hardcover version containing a powerful DVD with 16 video clips.  However, we recommend you buy the book anyway if copies are no longer available.  The book resonates with every Lean culture as it builds on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by adding an 8th Habit of direct value to our world today.  It is, “To find your voice and help others to find theirs.” With global competition now demanding every contribution, and every idea from everyone on the workforce – this is a very needed habit to bring out ALL the perspectives in the team so the best solution can be extracted.  This does not happen unless ALL voices are heard.  Your task is to find your voice – and make sure all voices are heard.

The Goal – A Process of Ongoing ImprovementBy Eliyahu Goldratt, Jeff Cox
This book contains simple wisdom that so many of us STILL overlook.  It is written in a fast-paced thriller style. Alex Rogo is a harried plant manager working ever more desperately to try to improve performance. His factory is rapidly heading for disaster. The story of Alex’s fight to save his plant has a serious message for all managers in any industry and explains the ideas which underline the Theory of Constraints (TOC) developed by Eli Goldratt. It is still a must-read novel that has sold an incredible 6,000,000 copies. That alone attests to its value for manufacturers in the past AND in the present. ATJ Rating 5.0 

The Lean Toolbox  – 4th Edition, The Essential Guide to Lean Transformation Tools – By John Bicheno Matthias Holweg
Need a quick, simple reference that gives you clear easy interpretations of all things Lean? One you want to keep on your shelf at all times?  ATJ grew up with this and its constant updates. It is a great guide and clear description of tools, concepts, or philosophies. It’s written for practitioners. Sections: The Philosophy of LEAN, Value and Waste, Transformation Frameworks, Deployment, Preparing for Flow, Mapping, Layout and Cell Design, Scheduling, TOC, Quality, Improvement, Managing Change, Sustainability, New Product Development, The LEAN Supply Chain, and Accounting and Measurement. You will not get swamped in detail and you will appreciate the quick understanding.

Toyota KATA(TK) – Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness, and Superior Results – by  Mike Rother, 2010.  This is a 5 Star pick.  It is a superb book, written by a globally in demand engineer, researcher, and teacher.  It provides an excellent introduction to Lean Thinking, needed to set the stage for his clear problem-solving/leadership process that’s based on two complementary pillars – the Improvement KATA (IK), and the Coaching KATA (CK).  (   Mike’s use of the Scientific Method mindset and learning style prepares the reader for the reflexive process routines.  These will change one’s view of problem-solving methods and emphasize the need for teamwork & coaching to form an improvement culture.  TK is a foundation for Mike’s new book, Toyota KATA Culture(TKC) – Building Organisational Capability and Mindset Through KATA Coaching – a book that provides the tools to build a company-wide KATA Culture across any organization.

NEW:  Toyota KATA Culture(TKC) – Building Organisational Capability and Mindset Through KATA Coaching – 2017 – by Mike Rother & Gerd Aulinger 2017.  This workbook builds on Mike’s first book – Toyota KATA.   It shows how to build the culture needed to expand TK throughout an entire organization.  And it does it with a process that aligns and integrates the contributions of all employees.  The TKC process drives thinking and behavioral patterns that deepen the neural pathways that can accelerate results, sustainability, and world-class performance for companies with the discipline to stick with it.  Some have looked at this as the ‘missing piece’ in the TK Culture structure that now can mobilize the entire organization. 

Creating a LEAN Culture, Tools to Sustain LEAN Conversions, 3rd Edition – 2014 – by David Mann. This book is also an ATJ 5 star pick and has won the Shingo Prize Award for Research.  It is the go-to resource for seekers of effective Leader Standard Work – and the value that can give to building an effective management team.  This is a proven game-changer for all management, and no Lean library should be without it.  The precise process David details is practical and drawn from his years with Steelcase.  His direct involvement in diverse Manufacturers, Hospitals, Consortia and even the Oil Sands has made him an ‘in-demand’ speaker.  In Canada: 

NEW:  The Work of Management A Daily Path to Sustainable Improvement 2017 – By Jim Lancaster with Emily Adams.   Jim Womack has followed the ‘Lantech Story’ for decades, and sees The Work of Management providing two things at once. On one level, it illustrates one company’s pursuit of a sustainable approach for stable transitions to a successful future.  And on a deeper level, Jim believes “It describes a method you can use to create your own lean management system in any type of business based on daily and weekly management for stable performance”.  This is an LEI published book:  In the US order directly from LEI:   If new to LEI, check out their website above:  Take a lunch because there is a huge amount Lean resources on all Lean topics to mine.  In Canada: LEI materials are distributed through our OCAPT friends at  And in the UK visit