Update: Lean Book Review: Managing to Learn by John Shook
Book Title - Managing to Learn, Using the A3 management process to solve problems, gain agreement, mentor and lead.
Author - John Shook
This book is a nice blend of experience, practical how-to and provides a fair amount of “pulling back the curtain” on Toyota’s management and problem solving methods and philosophy. A simple explanation of the A3 process has been long overdue and John Shook delivers it here. Shook and publisher LEI continue the ACME Mfg story that many readers are familiar with. In fact, Shook provides an example A3 that details the fictional ACME Stamping transformation along with several other real-world A3’s from client companies. But the real strength of the book is the “how-to” experience from the perspective of both A3 novice and A3 coach. This book will be a great way for management teams to learn and understand the A3 process together. Bottom line: order a bunch and put together a book study group with your staff, working out real problems.
Shook takes a unique approach in telling the A3 story – from the perspective of fictional users. Readers follow along the learning journey of the two main characters Porter, the novice and Sanderson, the mentor. Some well read Lean zealots may tire of these industrial novellas, but Shook pulls this off with a new twist: the stories are literally side-by-side. So, readers can work their way through the experiences of both novice and mentor simultaneously, on the same page. This is a truly a two-for-one book value!
Shook mercifully reinforces a concept in Lean that doesn’t get nearly the attention it should. Shook describes a “pull based authority” concept at Toyota. Here is a book where you will find that concept in action: Lean concepts such as pull and kanban applied to more than just materials, in this case, management, learning and problem solving. In short, Shook reinvigorates Lean purists with the core underlying philosophy of Lean – pulling at the demand of the customer – applying it to everything we do.
How many Gold Rivets, Rosie?
Managing to Learn is a quick easy read, with loads of examples and a fresh writing style which many readers will be thankful for. I suspect though, a few people may not like the style...but you can’t make everyone happy. Shook offers his personal insight and experience to you in a package which follows a logical order so you can start learning and using today.