Getting to Lean: Transformational Change Management

Getting to Lean is a guide to transformational change. It is about creating the future. It provides a process for significant and large scale change in culture and capabilities to build a sustainable lean enterprise. Getting to Lean presents whole-system architecture which engages stakeholders in aligning the systems and structures of the organization toward a common purpose.

Many change efforts separate lean management into its component parts, and like organs removed from the body, they are not sustainable. Systems that are whole and aligned are sustainable. This book is a guide to creating sustainable change.

“I’ve read hundreds of management books in my decades as a professor (currently Columbia University) and a management consultant. Over the last 30 years the trend has been to write a breezy, short book, maybe a fable with a big font and few pages. Larry Miller’s book, GETTING TO LEAN brings us back to solid content with vivid and fascinating examples from his many years as a management consultant. Miller goes through the entire process of how to create a high-functioning organization. This is no mean feat, as thorough as Miller is, because it requires great skills as a writer and thinker, as well as heavy doses of wisdom.” Dorothy Marcic, Ph.D, Columbia University, author of Understanding Management, Managing with the Wisdom of Love and playwright.

“Larry Miller’s approach to whole system change, using the principles of Lean and the best of management and change theory in a practical, action learning approach was transformational for my health care organization. The service referral system that took five hours on average to process was reduced to five minutes and productivity increased 20% since full implementation. A field nurse told me last week that she worked in the system prior to the change and it was very stressful, on return from a year’s absence in the new system she said, she can provide better service, she is happier and so are her colleagues and she is more efficient. Change can be challenging but engaging staff in the design of the work system increases ownership, accountability and the success of the change. Using Larry’s approach to Lean works, I highly recommend this book if you want to execute meaningful organizational change.” Sharon Goodwin, VP Quality & Risk, VON Canada

361 Pages; List Price: $36.95; e-book Price (Kindle, Nook & iPad) $19.95

Team Kata

The culture of organizations and society is embedded in the behavior of both groups and individuals. To change the culture of an organization you cannot simply focus on individual leaders or employees. You must address the norms of behavior, the habits of group decision-making and problem-solving at all levels of the organization. High performing natural work teams and management teams are the key to high performing organizations. Building these teams is the purpose of Team Kata. The purpose of Team Kata is to develop the patterns of continuous improvement, high performance, and high satisfaction within every team and every employee. These are the skills of team leadership. This book represents the combination of two sets of learning: first, the experience of lean management; and second, many years of experience training and coaching high performing management and natural work teams. Many efforts to implement lean management have been disappointing. By far the most common cause is a failure to create a culture of teamwork and continuous improvement. This book presents the basic skills and habits that are essential to creating that change in culture. It should be read by every team leader, team member and team coach.

“Working in the world of Lean and Continuous Improvement for over 30 years, reading thousands of books, searching the internet for information, taking online course, and attending conferences, and working with Lean organization, I have found no better book than Team Kata for management, teams, students, that are interested in Teamwork, Kata, and Lean. If you have the passion like I do, then you should read the book, share it with your teams, and management. It’s a winner.” Steve Daukas

The Lean Coach (Now available on Amazon)

To create lean culture of an organization
you must change the habits of leaders and teams.
Habits rarely change without the assistance of a coach.

Most organizations today are adopting lean culture or lean leadership. Many are struggling because of their inability to instill a sustainable change in the habits of continuous improvement and problem-solving. The cost of external coaching is too great and most companies do not have sufficient internal staff coaches. The only solution is for every manager to develop coaching skills and provide that coaching to other managers and teams. This is the Lean Coach. This book and companion online course are intended to provide the needed coaching process and skills.

There are two bodies of knowledge upon which the methods in this book are based. The first is Lean or Toyota Production System. The second is behavior analysis or behavioral psychology which focuses on observable behavior, not personality or attitudes. It can be summarized by the phrase “It is easier to act your way into a new way of feeling, than feel your way into a new way of acting.”

This is my best selling book on leadership and corporate culture. The largest data base on culture is the history of the rise and fall of civilizations. I took that model of rise and fall, emergence and decline, and used it as an analogy for why companies, and their leaders, rise and fall. There are great lessons in the role of the prophet, the barbarian, builder and explorer, administrator, bureaucrat and aristocrat. You may find yourself and your company here.


“One day your sluggish company will taken to the sound of a beating drum and the sight of a competitor approaching at ramming speed. On deck will be a jut-jawed Barbarian….He will hardly blink as his target is ripped asunder, sending Aristocrats, Bureaucrats and their unfortunate shipmates to their corporate death….So goes Mr. Miller’s tale, from which we can all profit.” The Wall Street Journal

“Barbarians to Bureaucrats presents a brilliant new solution to a stubborn old business problem: how to halt a company’s descent into wasteful, stifling bureaucracy. Lawrence M. Miller, a management consultant for such corporate giants as Xerox and 3M, argues that corporations, like civilizations, have a natural life cycle, and that by identifying the stage your company is in, and the leaders associated with it, you can avert decline and continue to thrive.

“Every company begins with the compelling new vision of a Prophet and the aggressive leadership of an iron-willed Barbarian, who implements the Prophet’s ideas. New techniques and expansions are pushed through by the Builder and the Explorer, but the growth spawned by these managers can easily stagnate when the Administrator sacrifices innovation to order, and the Bureaucrat imposes tight control. And just as in civilizations, the rule of the Aristocrat, out of touch with those who do the real work, invites rebellion — from employees, customers, and stockholders. It will take the Synergist, a business leader who balances creativity with order, to restore vitality and insure future growth.

“Executives from major corporations have already put the powerful insights of Barbarians to Bureaucrats into practice to regenerate their own companies. Now you can use this brilliant, lucid, and dazzlingly original book to put your company — and your career — back on track.”

Spiritual Enterprise: Building Your Business in the Spirit of Service

This is a different sort of book. I am a member of the Baha’i Faith which presents guidance on many modern day issues. I have attempted to apply Baha’i teachings to the world of management and organizations. That is the goal of this book. While realizing that this book is not for everyone, I offer my humble effort to apply spiritual principles and guidance to the world of corporations and all organizations. This is an area that I feel many need to meditate upon.