1st Edition

Lean Empowerment and Respect for People The Evolution of Lean Production Systems

By Trevor Gundlach Copyright 2024
    192 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    192 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    192 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    There are two pillars of a Lean Management System: Continuous Improvement and Respect for People. Most books about Lean Production have focused overwhelmingly on Continuous Improvement and fail to treat Respect for People as an equal pillar. It is overlooked or understated, resulting not in a Lean house, but in a lean-to structure. It is our responsibility to level out the structure once again.

    The study of people is messy and exciting. It demands that we explore multiple interdisciplinary studies, including psychology, sociology, philosophy, and even theology. This book runs a parallel course with Lean Production but has a different goal. Instead of production, efficiency, and financial gains, our goal is to understand the reasons why staff come to work in the morning. We can only understand a system when we understand its people. They own the culture.

    Lean must therefore evolve from a Production System into an Empowerment System.

    Lean Production will no longer serve the contemporary workforce; knowledge workers, if you are reading this, you are likely a knowledge worker who deserves more than a repackaging of the same ideas. You are not a line worker, and your system should not treat you as such. Therefore, we need a new system. One that prioritizes Respect for People over Continuous Improvement. Leaders in this system must recognize belonging and psychological safety as preconditions to process innovation. New definitions of value and waste—the staples of Lean philosophy—must take on a more human face and propel the change of culture. We must flip Lean on its head for the sake of our modern workforce.



    About the Author

    Part I. Theory
    1. The Vices of Production & the Virtues of Empowerment
    2. Lessons Learned from Lean Production
    Part II. Practice
    3. The Lean Empowerment System
    4. System
    5. People
    6. Process
    7. Technology



    Trevor Gundlach is an author, philosopher, and healthcare leader. He holds a M.A. in Theological Studies from the University of Dayton and a M.B.A. in Project Management from Indiana Wesleyan University. Trevor is the author of Barstool Theology: Crafting the Good Life and founder of the Lean Empowerment System. He leads a team of project managers, process coaches, and clinical educators at Kettering Health Medical Group in Southwest Ohio.

    Empowerment gets Trevor out of bed in the morning, and a cup of pour-over coffee takes it from there. He lives in a delicate balance between rigorous philosophy and approachable storytelling. Trevor’s vocation is to help others find meaning and purpose in the workplace through systems and processes. He draws energy and inspiration from years of work as a teacher, campus minister, and director of spiritual retreats. Now, he channels that same energy into the boardroom, guiding teams of executive leaders with clarity and direction, or in the coffee shop, mentoring the leaders of the next generation. Trevor is passionate about connecting work to strategy and creating sustainable systems to support the change that our frontline staff demand.