Compression : Meeting the Challenges of Sustainability Through Vigorous Learning Enterprises book cover
1st Edition

Meeting the Challenges of Sustainability Through Vigorous Learning Enterprises

ISBN 9781439806548
Published October 8, 2009 by Productivity Press
268 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $59.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

COMPRESSION: Meeting the Challenges of Sustainability Through Vigorous Learning Enterprises sounds a clarion that we cannot afford to ignore. Global crises are squeezing us from all directions. Mostly they have to do with not enough: not enough natural resources to maintain our standard of living, not enough carbon rich soil to grow crops enough to feed the world, not enough fresh clean water, nor air or ozone.

A founding member of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, Robert "Doc" Hall has dedicated much of his career to redefining business practices in ways that are feasible and transferable. For lasting change to occur, we need to provide stakeholders with access to new tools and new paradigms that eschew outdated learning methods. While the book does elucidate the problem, the main emphasis of its pages is on what leaders can do to change the mindset of stakeholders at all levels. Specifically, Hall shows how the Toyota model, the most successful and enduring manufacturing system ever implemented, can be applied and adapted to help identify roots of problems, eliminate waste, and create a new vision along with the path to realizing that vision.

  • We must rethink our perpetual devotion to old ideals such as continual growth and more are always better
  • We need to recognize that we are quickly reaching the point of critical mass where the inequities of society will force the have-nots to take matters into their own hands
  • We need to learn to learn more effectively, in terms of individuals, organizations, and processes
  • We must embrace the paradigm culture shift required to implement lasting constructive change that we can live by

To implement the sort of changes that will allow civilization to prevail rather than merely endure requires a resourcefulness and ingenuity beyond any the world has ever employed. In this volume, Doc Hall shows us how to learn to learn more effectively both as individuals and organizations, and in terms of processes. He invites us to rethink our perpetual devotion to old ideals and welcome the shift in thinking that must be our first and immediate step.

Stay current and become active in helping to Meet the Challenges of Sustainability Through Vigorous Learning Enterprises. You will find action steps and discussion at

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Understanding the Challenges of Compression

Challenge #1: Resource Shortages

Fossil Energy

Fresh Water

Challenge #2: A Precarious Environment


Freon and the Ozone Hole

Oceanic Plankton

Challenge #3: Excessive Consumption

Challenge #4: Pushback from the Have-Nots

Challenge #5: Self-Learning Work Organizations

Meeting the Challenges

Vigorous Learning Organizations

Health Care as an Example

Rethinking Expansionary Assumptions

Taking on the Challenges of Compression Endnotes

Chapter 2 Learning from Toyota

The Toyota Way

The Toyota Production System

TPS Techniques

Objective of TPS: Eliminate Waste

Creating a TPS Learning System

The Role of Standard Work in Kaizen

The Seedbed: An Economic Microcosm

Ohno’s Method

Toyota’s Supplier Association

The Toyota Product Development System

Expert Engineering Workforce

Responsibility-Based System

Set-Based Engineering

The Chief Engineer

Ethnic Culture and The Toyota Way

Lean Manufacturing

Learning and Work Culture

Lessons from Toyota Today Endnotes

Chapter 3 Learning to Learn

Improving Your Learning Processes

Part 1: Individual Learning

Neural Learning Mechanisms

“Natural” Learning

The Limits of Rationality

Integrative Learning

Absolutism and Denial

Part 2: Compression of Process Learning

A Broader Definition of Waste

Big-Step Innovative Learning

The Implications of Learning Curves

Compression and Increasing Complexity

Energy, Information, and Process Learning

A Tree Doesn’t Grow to the Moon

Scientific Learning

Self-Similar Scientific Process Learning at Work

Broadening Your View of Waste

Mapping Your Opportunities

Life-Cycle Analysis

Practicalities of Measurement

Action Steps to Start Learning

Part 3: Organizational Learning

Creating a Learning Language

Innovative Learning

Forming Bonds of Trust

Higher Context Learning


Chapter 4 Dispelling Our Expansionary Habits

Compressed in the Cosmos

The Blinding Mind-Set

Dysfunctional Assumptions

Unlimited Growth

Economy of Scale

Short-Term Bias

Results Bias

Specialization and Inflexibility

Fragmentation and Tribalism

Inability to Simplify Complexity

Complacency and Panic

Commodity Traps

Market Rationality

Model Fixation

Ownership Dominance

Money as the Common Language

Inability to Simplify Complexity

Commercial Competition; Commercial Reciprocity

Health Care and Bioscience

Commercial Journalism

Spin Doctoring

Commercial Conflict and Reciprocity

Questioning the System


Chapter 5 Creating Vigorous Learning Enterprises Vigorous Learning Enterprise Overview

Common Mission and Goals

Behavioral Skill Building

Change the Environment, Change the Behavior

On Becoming Professional

An Integrated Learning System


Roles of Core Leadership

External Leadership

Leadership: Sustaining Trust

Leadership: Developing Others

Leadership: Defending a Learning Culture

Performance Measurement

Compressing Your Learning Processes Endnotes

Chapter 6 Developing the Constitution for Vigorous Learning

Deep Challenges

Toward a Stronger Constitution

Why This Approach?

A Global Tribe

Implications of Tribalism at Work

Trust and Tribal Bonding

A Process Theory of Value

Problems with Existing Theories of Value

Attempts to Overcome Weaknesses

What a Process Theory of Value Must Do

Process Evaluation

New Considerations

New Consideration: Accumulations

New Consideration: Life-Cycle Energy

New Consideration: Life-Cycle Operations

New Consideration: Thermodynamic Currency

Implications of a Process Theory of Value

Thermodynamic Efficiency

Financing Missions

Rapid Adaptability

Allocation of Commodities or Permits

Flat Age Demographic Profile

Employment and Unemployment

Little Distinction between Profit, Nonprofit, and Government Work Organizations

An End to Hot Wars Using Resource-Intensive Weaponry

Auditing Vigorous Learning

Committing to the Learning Constitution


About the Author


View More



A founding member of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, Robert W. Hall, Ph.D., is the Professor Emeritus of Operations Management at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, and the Editor-in Chief of Target Magazine.


Strategic leaders of private and public organizations in the 21st century are faced with unprecedented challenges. The principles and practices that helped them compete and grow in the past, no longer work. … Many of the problems are beyond complicated. They are problems generated by interlinked systems that prevent us from clearly defining the root cause. Their resolution requires reflection on the assumptions of the past and counter intuitive thinking.

In the 1980s and 90s Robert Hall (Doc) helped North American manufacturing and service companies address the competitive challenges of imports. Doc was a thought leader, articulator, and guide to hundreds of CEOs, presidents, operations managers and process engineers on the principles and practices of Lean, continuous improvement, and productivity.

Today, with Compression, Doc gives us a new perspective on the challenges of the 21st century. He gives strategic leaders a way to put their arms around the complex issues facing their companies, markets, and communities.

Compression is a practical management tool. Strategic leaders should not labor under the misconception that they will learn by reading this book. It is through using what they read that the real and important learning will occur.
—John (Jack) Ward, former CEO, Gabor International

Learning how to survive in this new Era of Sustainability will require a new way of thinking and working ... . Compression: doing more with less of everything by becoming a vigorous learning organization.
—Glenn Marshall, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Benchmarking & Sustainability Champion