Simplicity, flow, respect for people, reflection, observing the present state, humility, beginner’s mind, inquiry, a search for perfection. These are just some of the concepts shared between Lean, also known as the Toyota Production System, and Zen.
In The Simple Leader, author Kevin Meyer describes how he discovered and leveraged Lean on his thirty-year leadership journey from engineer to President of a medical device company. Then, when faced with a very stressful family health situation, he learned about Zen – and soon realized that there were common themes that could be used to improve both personal and professional leadership.
Filled with personal stories, practices, and insight built on experience, The Simple Leader will help new or struggling leaders in any industry become more organized, effective, and balanced.
The book is organized into eight parts, each with a different purpose:
Part One – Fundamentals
Who is the Customer? - A Note on Motivation and Habits - Discovering Lean - A Short History of Lean - The Two Pillars - Core Lean Tools - Discovering Zen - A Short History of Zen - Core Concepts of Zen - Zen and Business - The Nexus of Lean and Zen
Part Two – Reconnect
Healthy Body - Connected Spirit - Forgive Yourself - Gratitude - Self-Inquiry - Seek Stillness and Quietude - Embrace Solitude - Break the Routine - Be Present, Aware, and Mindful - Just Chill - Meditate
Part Three – Create
Remove Distractions - The Big Three - The Hour of Power - Leverage Productive Time - Deal with it Now - Journal - Kanban Work - Confront Mortality - The Intentional Routine - Create Flow
Part Four – Lead
Oh the Humanity! - Respect - Empathy and Compassion - Humility - Share Generously - Serve - Authentic Character - Communication, Not Structure - Trust, Not Control - Performance, Not Policy - Coaching, Not Reviews - Joy, Not Fear - Listen Deeply and Speak Softly - And Then There’s You
Part Five – Clarify
Define Principles and Values - What’s Your Why? - Beginner’s Mind - Observe the Now - Document the Current State - Envision the Future State - Create the Hoshin Plan - Short, But Not Too Short - The One Big Thing - All On One Page
Part Six – Simplify
Declutter and Organize - Minimize - The Waste of Choice - Align and Eliminate - Just Say No - Reduce Information Overload - Go Visual - Learning by Writing by Hand
Part Seven – Improve
Start. Now. - Plan, Do, Study, Adjust - Change for the Better - The Human Side of Change - Go and See - Standard Work - Map the Value Stream - Improvement Kata - Daily Management and Accountability - A New Take on Training - Reflection - Celebrate Success
Part Eight – Grow
Evolution - Continue to Learn - Do Something Different - Explore the World - Find Your Unique Path - Life as Art