Book Review: Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean?

Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean? Building the bridge from job satisfaction to corporate profit Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean? Building the bridge from job satisfaction to corporate profit by Jeff Hajek



rating: 5 of 5 stars
Jeff Hajek’s “Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean” is a must-read for front line workers in a organization that is going through a Lean transformation. It is a highly suggested book for managers, supervisors, and Human Resources in Lean enterprises. I also think the book has value for unsatisfied workers in any field.

The book has some great advice for helping people cope with Lean changes. It is laid out in a way that you don’t have to read it cover-to-cover but can turn right to the section that you are currently struggling with. I think the description of how people think and then decide to take action is fundamental for people to grasp in any organization (Lean or not). Recognizing how your interpretations bring emotions which can fuel your decision to act is something I have had mentors teach me in the past but I have experienced many people who do not understand this or practice it. This part of the book will really help anybody looking for more job satisfaction.

The value for managers and supervisors is to really understand what your staff may be thinking. There are things in this book I never considered before that affects staff-satisfaction such as how it feels to people with seniority that end up on an even playing field as newcomers due to standard work. While the changes make sense, it can be difficult to consider all of the personal reactions for your staff. This book helps you reflect on what people are going through and more importantly provides advice that you can use while coaching.

Hajek’s chapter on the basics of Lean is outstanding. The concepts are explained in a very relatable way such as a lemonade stand used to describe wastes or linking Lean tools to common things we use like Netflix as example of Kanban.

The “Hard Truths About Lean” chapter is a good “tough love” discussion. I am an overly positive person (the cup is half-full and I know where the pitcher is to refill it) so this chapter really helped me recognize the difficulties faced in Lean transformations. While I knew them already, this book served as a reminder of what it is like in the beginning. I may work with people farther down the path but Lean is still only in beginning stages some parts. This chapter is helpful when you work throughout your enterprise and people are at different stages.

I highly recommend this book.

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Filed under Book Review, Business, Communication, Improve With Lean

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