High Performance Lean Leadership

The success of Lean initiatives at your company stands and falls with the mindset and abilities of your management. High Performance Lean Leaders set the course and structures for successfully applying the Lean principles while encouraging and demanding continuous improvement from their team.


There is a conceptual difference between applying Lean principles and methods in an organization vs. integrating it into the culture to create a problem-solving mindset. Leaders need to understand what changes in their own thinking and behaviors are required to effectively support the organizational transformation. There are three essential behavioral shifts in day-to-day leadership behavior, representing a break from the typical way that most organizations encourage managers to behave:


  1. Ask questions rather than give answers
    Leaders in Lean environments acknowledge that the people closest to a problem generally understand it best. They realize that their questions are more valuable to shape the culture of the organization than their answers
  2. Understand the root causes of problems rather than looking for quick fixes
    Truly solving a problem requires to understand its origin and the circumstances leading to it. Lean leaders know that when problems aren’t fully solved, they will inevitably return. Encouraging teams and providing guidance for root-cause problem solving needs discipline and time
  3. Translate the organization’s business objectives into practical targets and give direction for daily actions
    This step requires leaders to develop a deep understanding on how their team’s work contributes to the organization’s objectives. This goes beyond simply cascading the metrics down the hierarchies, since an essential part of it is, to align with the team and describe ‘how’ they want to reach their goals. The benefit is not only having a consistent vision of the future outcome, but also engage people in the process and give more meaning to the individual contribution

What will this course achieve?

During our course we will work on several case studies to elaborate what kind of changes and resistances occur in different phases of Lean transformations and what managers can do to overcome obstacles while motivating their teams and focus on tangible milestones and results. You will get to know the concepts and methods of Lean Leadership like,


  • Participative leadership styles
  • Coaching basics, systemic questioning
  • Toyota Kata (practical coaching methods)
  • Giving feedback effectively
  • Effective communication frameworks
  • Hoshin Kanri as a target agreement method
  • Visual Management and Daily Direction Setting (DDS)
  • Change management fundamentals
  • The 8 Success Factors in Lean transformations


Who should attend?

Managing directors, executives and supervisors who want to advance their leadership skills; all individuals who want to prepare for a managerial role learn how to motivate their teams and strive to lead the company towards success.

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2 days
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After ten years working in Europe and the US as a development engineer for the likes of Mercedes Benz, Chrysler and Smart, he joined Porsche Consulting, the Lean Management division of Porsche AG in Germany.

Specialising in Automotive, Aerospace, Electronics, Manufacturing and Software, James spent several years honing his skills with Porsche Consulting, focussing – and publishing articles – on Lean Enterprise, Lean Management and Lean Development.

He then joined Four Principles, bringing his diverse skillset to Lean projects across a wide variety of clients and sectors, not only as a Lean specialist, but also as a Chartered Engineer and Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

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