Toyota as a Model in Light of a Period of Intense Challenges

This book is about making lean leaders, and it unabashedly uses Toyota as the model par excellence for lean leadership. We believe that the biggest gap in capabilities in the lean movement, and the root cause of the failure of many lean programs, is in leadership. As you’ll see through the course of the book, lean leadership is quite different from the typical leadership models and managerial styles of Western companies (American or European)—or, for that matter, of most Japanese companies.

When we started writing this book in early 2008, looking at Toyota as a shining example of consistently excellent leadership would have been entirely uncontroversial. The company had been ...

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