Lean Enterprise Institute Publishes New Teaching Tool for Lean Teams

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The new Gold Mine Trilogy Study Guide is like a personal coach for teams and their managers -- supporting, challenging, and facilitating as they discuss and implement the book’s lean management lessons.


Make the leap to lean management with resources from the Lean Enterprise Institute

The guide is designed as a basis for conversation and action. It’s not a static text to read.

Around the world, readers in companies large and small are using the trilogy of lean management novels published by the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) to help them navigate the challenges of their lean transformations. Now LEI has published The Gold Mine Trilogy Study Guide, a companion book to the three novels to help business teams use the trilogy more effectively.

Written by trilogy co-author Michael Ballé and LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld, the Trilogy Guide was designed to support group learning that occurs as teams progress through the trilogy of The Gold Mine, The Lean Manager, and, most recently, Lead With Respect. Each book won a Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award.

“The promise of this study guide is the same as that of the trilogy, which is the same as that of lean thinking itself: help us work better individually and collaboratively as we come to see the world more clearly, understand it more deeply, and deal with it more effectively,” said LEI CEO John Shook.

The guide follows the implementation path that unfolds across the novels. The Gold Mine introduces lean management thinking and tools for continuous improvement. In the next book, The Lean Manager, the characters advance beyond tools to creating and sustaining a complete lean management system to support continuous improvement. Lead With Respect shows business people how to develop in themselves and others the leadership behaviors needed to support lean business systems.

Practical Coaching for Lean Teams
The guide is designed for progressing through the three books one chapter at a time. The material is structured to support a regular cadence for discussions. Each guide chapter corresponds to a chapter in one of the novels and contains:

  •     A succinct plot summary of the novel chapter.
  •     Author explanations of the significance of each chapter and how specific tools embody specific lean principles.
  •     Key ideas contained in the chapter.
  •     Reflection questions to guide team conversations about the ideas in the trilogy.

Because applying lean management principles is learned through actual practice, the novels describe the “real” experiences of fictional characters as they implement lean in a sequence that accurately reflects real-life business challenges, such as turning around a struggling company. Each book is true to the original intent of lean tools and principles and captures not only the intellectual journey of learning-by-doing but also the emotional elements of change that are needed to transform entire organizations.

The Trilogy Guide plays the role of a coach. As lean teams read each novel chapter, they use the corresponding guide section to discuss how the lessons in the narrative relate to its own lean transformation work. “The guide is designed as a basis for conversation and action,” explained Ballé. “It’s not a static text to read.”

The Gold Mine Trilogy Study Guide

  •     Authors: Michael Ballé and Tom Ehrenfeld
  •     Publisher: Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc.
  •     ISBN-13: 978-1-934109-50-2
  •     ISBN-10: 1-934109-50-2
  •     Pages: 144
  •     Price: $25 (free with purchase of the trilogy set)
  •     Publication Date: October 12, 2015

Editors/Producers/Bloggers: For review copies of the Trilogy Guide or to interview the authors, contact LEI Communications Director Chet Marchwinski cmarchwinski@lean.org or 617-871-2930.

Michael Ballé, PhD, is a lean management practitioner, business columnist, and author. His most recent business novel, co-authored with Freddy Ballé, is Lead With Respect: A Novel of Lean Practice, published by the Lean Enterprise Institute. As managing partner of ESG Consultants, Paris, he helps companies and executives adopt lean systems and behaviors. Ballé is associate researcher at Télécom ParisTech's Projet Lean Enterprise and co-founder of the French Lean Institute. He writes the weekly Gemba Coach column answering implementation questions from lean practitioners.

Tom Ehrenfeld is a senior editor at the Lean Enterprise Institute. A former writer/editor with Inc. Magazine and Harvard Business Review, he is the author of The Startup Garden: How Growing A Business Grows You. He works as a consulting editor for LEI and with many other lean authors. Six of his edited books have won the Shingo Research Award.

About the Lean Enterprise Institute
Lean Enterprise Institute Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Cambridge, MA, makes things better through lean research, training, publishing, and events. Founded in 1997 by management expert James P. Womack, PhD, LEI supports other lean initiatives such as the Lean Global Network, the Lean Education Academic Network, and the Healthcare Value Network. Learn more about LEI at http://www.lean.org.

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Chet Marchwinski

Lean Enterprise Institute
since: 03/2009
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