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The Lean Solutions Podcast

The Lean Solutions Podcast

By Patrick Adams
This podcast offers business solutions to help listeners develop and implement action plans for lean process improvement and implement continuous improvement projects, cost reductions, product quality enhancements, and process effectiveness improvement. Listeners come from many industries in both manufacturing and office applications.
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Lean in Higher Education

The Lean Solutions Podcast

Workplace Culture with Siobhan McHale
This week I’m speaking with Siobhan McHale, the Executive General Manager of People, Culture & Change (HR) at DuluxGroup and the author of The Insider’s Guide to Culture Change: Creating a Workplace that Delivers, Grows, and Adapts. Siobhan and I talk about the importance of workplace culture and the steps you need to take to bring about a culture change in your workplace. What You’ll Learn This Episode: What is workplace culture? The typical patterns of workplace culture Creating culture change in the workplace Role reframing and how it relates to workplace culture The steps to take to bring about culture shift About the Guest: Siobhan (pronounced ‘Shiv-awn’) McHale is the Executive General Manager of People, Culture & Change (HR) at DuluxGroup a paints company based in Melbourne, Australia. She is the author of The Insider’s Guide to Culture Change: Creating a Workplace that Delivers, Grows, and Adapts. Siobhan has worked across four continents, helping thousands of leaders to create more agile and productive workplaces. She has been on the “inside”, as the executive in charge of culture change in a series of multinational organizations. One of these inside jobs was a radical seven-year change initiative at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) that transformed it from the lowest-performing bank in the country into one of the highest-performing banks in the world. Important Links:
July 27, 2021
Success at Kaizen Events with Mike Leigh
This week I’m speaking with Mike Leigh, who is the President of OpX Solutions, a performance improvement company that helps manufacturers remove the barriers that prevent them from achieving their goals by developing leaders and improving processes. In this episode we talk about Kaizen events, including why they are important and how to ensure that the outcome of the event is successful. What You’ll Learn This Episode: What are Kaizen events and what is their purpose How to define success at a Kaizen event The main factors that influence success and how to determine them How to hold a successful Kaizen event Having the right mindset during a Kaizen event Inviting leaders to participate in Kaizen events About the Guest: Mike Leigh started OpX Solutions to help manufacturers and other organizations be more successful. Prior to starting his company, Mike had a 13-year manufacturing career where he held a variety of operational supply chain leadership roles.  Prior to that, he served in the US Navy as a surface warfare officer where he specialized in nuclear propulsion, and later retired as a Commander in the reserves. Additionally, Mike writes a monthly article on business operations for Valley Business FRONT magazine, was recognized as the Virginia Small Business Veteran of the Year by the state SBDC organization, and his business is currently the #1 franchise in the Americas with Leadership Management International. When not working, Mike enjoys hiking, traveling, and following the Green Bay Packers. Important Links: Company Website: Linked-In Sites: OpX Solutions: Mike’s profile:
July 20, 2021
Creating a Lean Culture with David Mann
This week I’m speaking with David Mann, who has over 25 years of consulting on lean and lean management implementations in a wide range of manufacturing, health care, enterprise business processes, and extended value chains. In this episode we talk about David’s book and one of my favorite lean books, Creating a Lean Culture and how you can create the behaviors and practices of a lean management system in your own organization. What You’ll Learn This Episode: What inspired David to write Creating a Lean Culture The specific behaviors and practices that instilled a lean management system Mindset shifts for implementing lean systems The most important aspect in sustaining a lean culture Where David has seen the elements of lean management applied About the Guest: David Mann is the principal of David Mann Lean Consulting. In 15 years of lean experience at Steelcase Inc., Mann developed the concepts and tools of a lean management system, supporting 40+ lean manufacturing value stream transformations, and then leading an internal team that completed over 100 successful lean conversions in administrative and business process value streams. He established a consulting practice in 2005, serving organizations across industries worldwide. David is an implementer, consultant, coach, teacher and the author of the book Creating a Lean Culture, in which he won a Shingo Award. Important Links:
July 13, 2021
Different Styles of Leadership with John Dyer
This week I’m speaking with John Dyer, an author, speaker, teacher and consultant in team based continuous process improvement. With over 30 years experience, he is the President of John Dyer & Associates where he works with leaders in many different industries in the area of process improvement and leadership development. In this episode we talk about the different styles of leadership and how they apply to transforming the overall culture of an organization. We also chat about John’s book, The Façade of Excellence, and how it relates to different types of leaders and sustainable process improvement. What You’ll Learn This Episode: How continuous improvement has changed over the years Culture of continuous appearance John’s book, The Façade of Excellence, and why he wrote it The main ingredient to making any improvement initiative successful Why leaders need to adapt to different situations About the Guest: John Dyer is the President of John Dyer & Associates, where he works with  leaders in a variety of Continuous Improvement and Operational Excellence initiatives.  John is also the author of the book The Façade of Excellence, Defining a New Normal of Leadership. Important Links:
July 6, 2021
Leading with Intention with Katie Anderson
This week I’m chatting with Katie Anderson, an internationally recognized leadership coach, consultant, author and professional speaker. Katie is best known for her focus on helping individuals and organizations lead with intention. Katie is also the author of “Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn” and wrote the forward for my book. In this episode we talk about being an intentional leader, and creating a structure for your learning and practice. What You’ll Learn This Episode: What it means to be an intentional leader 3 skills to becoming a more intentional leader Finding your clarity The importance of asking questions Creating a habit of reflection The shift from PDCA to SAPD About the Guest: Katie Anderson is an internationally recognized leadership coach, consultant, author and professional speaker.  She has over 20 years of experience in supporting change and improvement in organizations across a range of industries, though her primary focus has been on leading transformational change in healthcare organizations. Katie launched KBJ Anderson Consulting in 2013, to help individuals and organizations gain clarity on their goals, deepen their problem solving skills, and develop more effective leadership habits. Important Links:
June 29, 2021
Building a Solid Foundation for Productivity with Paul Dunlop
This week I’m chatting with Paul Dunlop, a Lean expert and Principal Consultant with over 20 years of management and manufacturing experience across a broad range of industries. In this episode we talk about focusing on accountability and performance management to improve your overall productivity. We also chat about why it’s so important to build your improvement on a solid foundation so that you can move from chaos and lack of structure to calm productivity. What You’ll Learn This Episode: How to build improvement activity on a good foundation The importance of accountability Performance management and why it’s needed The idea of perfection and why it may be stopping you Fear and leadership Making behavior visual About the Guest: In his operational management roles Paul Dunlop has led successful Lean implementation and transformations using the principles of the Toyota Production System and is green belt certified. Paul’s passion for operational excellence using Lean tools and methodology has helped drive sustained continuous improvement and financial performance at many businesses. Paul’s human centered approach focuses on engaging the ongoing support and commitment of both frontline staff and senior management through effective Lean leadership to facilitate engagement and inclusive problem-solving cultures. Paul supports and encourages organizations and individuals to go from chaos to calm productivity. Important Links:
June 22, 2021
Personal Development and A3 Thinking with Pennie Saum
This week I’m chatting with Pennie Saum, a process improvement expert currently in the transportation field about her experience with Lean and how her past personal struggles have influenced her today. In this episode, we talk about Pennie’s work with process improvement, employee engagement, and A3 thinking. We also go into detail about her work as an author and speaker working with survivors of trauma and abuse. What You’ll Learn This Episode: A3 thinking The importance of personal development Engagement and productivity improvement Penny’s experience with trauma A3 thinking in your personal life and personal development Knowing your “why” The Be Loud Movement About the Guest: Penny Saum is a continuous process improvement expert currently in the transportation field with an emphasis on employee engagement and productivity improvement. Pennie has focused heavily on employee mentoring, employee development and driving continuous improvement through the training of employees. Throughout her career in Lean, Pennie has developed strategy, people, process and structural solutions that have met business needs by analyzing the organization’s current states and utilizing continuous improvement methodology. She has had successful implementation in employee development, streamlining business processes, enhancing operational efficiency, implementing cost control measures and enhancing the employee experience. Pennie Saum is also the author of Brave and Unbroken, a speaker, advocate, law changer, and voice seeker who has dedicated her life to helping victims use their voice to move through trauma and grief. She has a passion for helping child sexual abuse victims thrive.  Pennie is determined to impact those who are struggling the trauma of child sexual abuse. Important Links: Ted Talk Link:
June 15, 2021
Lean in the Office with Tim Schipper
This week, I’m talking to lean expert Tim Schipper about his book Innovative Lean Development and The Highly Effective Office and how you can incorporate lean into your office. In this episode we talk about how to use lean techniques in the office and admin side of business to eliminate excess waste so your business and team can be at their optimal performance. What You’ll Learn This Episode: Using lean in your office and the administrative side of business Eliminating motion waste and excess processing Lean focus for optimizing flow in the office Value stream maps in the office How to engage team members from the beginning The value of exposing waste Visuals for daily management About the Guest: Tim Schipper is the author of Innovative Lean Development and The Highly Effective Office.  He also served on the Board of Directors for the Lean Product and Process Development Exchange, an organization promoting the exchange of information between companies in the areas of lean product and lean process development. Tim is an agile and lean expert, teacher, and coach. Important Links:
June 8, 2021
Daily Management with Calvin Williams
This week, I’m speaking with the founder and CEO of Impruver, Inc. Calvin Williams. Calvin founded Impruver Technologies after working for 20 years as an Operations Leader and Engineer with some of America’s premier manufacturing companies, generating Billions in growth opportunities and cost savings for those he has served. In this episode we talk about daily improvement and self discipline to leverage your continuous improvement journey. What You’ll Learn This Episode: Impruver and the benefits of using software in lean The connection between lean and fitness Daily habits for daily improvement The importance of self-discipline Time management and making time to improve About the Guest: Calvin Williams is the Founder and CEO of Impruver, Inc. and has also worked as a continuous improvement coach and consultant after spending many years as an industrial engineer and CI practitioner. Calvin built Impruver to address the challenges all companies seemed to face in their efforts to get better. These challenges include: lack of CI skills development throughout the enterprise, lack of leadership support and engagement, and lack of sufficient tools and information. Important Links:
June 1, 2021
‘How to Improve Absolutely Anything’ with Katie Labedz
This week, I’m speaking with certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Project Management Professional and CI Instructor Katie Labedz, about her new book “How to Improve Absolutely Anything.” In this episode we talk about Katie’s recent book and the importance of continuous improvement including how to integrate it into your everyday life even outside of the office. What You’ll Learn This Episode: Visual leadership and how to use it How you can use continuous improvement in your everyday life including at home How Katie got her start in Lean and Six Sigma Katie’s favorite lean tools from her book What inspired Katie to write her book About the Guest: Katie Labedz is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt with over 20 years of experience implementing continuous improvement solutions within non-manufacturing and manufacturing environments.  Her company is Learning to Lean. Katie also has her Master's certification in instructional design, her Project Management Professional (PMP) certification through PMI and is a certified instructor/facilitator through Langevin. Important Links:
May 25, 2021
Kind Leadership with Karyn Ross
This week, I’m speaking with Karyn Ross, the author of How to Coach for Creativity and Service Excellence: A Lean Coaching Workbook, and coauthor of the Shingo Award-winning,  The Toyota Way to Service Excellence: Lean Transformation in Service Organizations. Karyn is an internationally acclaimed consultant, coach and lean practitioner, and focuses on teaching organizations of all sizes and sectors how to use creativity combined with Toyota Way principles, practices and tools. This powerful combination enables organizations to create better, more effective and efficient ways to work. While many other Lean consultants focus on implementing tools, Karyn teaches teams how to use Practical Creativity™ to continuously strive towards service excellence. Karyn is on a mission to 'Help People Improve the World'. In this episode we talk about the important link between leadership and kindness, how to practice kindness in community and the impact listening can have when you’re in a leadership role. Important Links:
May 18, 2021
Leadership and Lean with Bob Emiliani
This week, I’m talking with Bob Emiliani, engineer, researcher, author, historian of progressive management, educational reformer, and executive coach. Bob is also a long-time TPS/Lean practitioner and was the first to focus on so-called "Lean leadership" as an area of scholarly study. Dr. Emiliani is an accomplished author whose work spans three disciplines: engineering, social sciences, and humanities. He has authored or co-authored 45 peer-reviewed papers in six different subject areas (leadership, management, management history, supply chain management, higher education, and materials engineering) and is the author or co-author of 22 books. In this episode we talk about the teachings in Bob’s books, loosening the grip of classical management, how to be successful with Lean and why leaders resist or reject Lean. Important Links: Link to register for Summer Learning Festival
May 11, 2021
Leaders Need Clarity with Karen Martin
This week, I’m talking with Karen Martin, President of the global consulting firm TKMG, Inc. and President and Founder of TKMG Academy, Inc. Karen is a leading authority on business performance improvement, problem solving, and Lean management systems. Known for her keen diagnostic skills and rapid-results approach, Karen and her team have worked with clients—such as Adventist Health, AT&T, Chevron, Epson, GlaxoSmithKline, Goodwill Industries, International Monetary Fund, Lenovo, Mayo Clinic, Prudential Insurance, Qualcomm, and the United States Department of Homeland Security—to develop more efficient work systems, grow market share, solve business problems, and accelerate performance.  Karen Martin is also an established author and her latest book, Clarity First, reveals how to use clarity to unleash potential, innovate at higher levels, and solve problems more effectively. In this episode we talk about clarity and how to address fear so you can break through any barriers blocking clarity. Important Links:
May 4, 2021
Continuous Improvement and Strategic Vision Boarding with Deondra Wardelle
This week, I’m talking with Deondra Wardelle, a corporate trainer, licensed health coach, problem solver, motivational speaker and continuous improvement professional. Deondra is an inspirational leader who serves as a strategic business partner, cultural change steward and operational expert. She has effectively led change management process strategies that facilitate organizational transformation and increase overall capabilities. While her inclusive management style encourages idea sharing and inspires exceptionalism in others, her proven ability to design and deliver a comprehensive range of learning solutions has produced measurable results for her clients. In this episode, we talk about Deondra’s strategic vision boarding, her work with Kata, and her leadership role with #rootcauseracism. Important Links:
April 27, 2021
Ron Pereira on Six Sigma and Gemba Academy
In this episode, I talk with Ron Pereira, the co-founder of Gemba Academy and the host of the Gemba Academy Podcast.  Ron also has more than 20 years experience working in operations, engineering, supply chain, and continuous improvement. We talk about Ron’s start with Lean and Six Sigma, how the Gemba Academy was born, the importance of scientific thinking and his advice to anyone on the continuous improvement journey. Important Links:
April 20, 2021
Where Are Your Leaders Spending Their Time?
In this episode, I introduce you to Question 2 out of my book, Avoiding the Continuous Appearance Trap: Where Are Your Leaders Spending Their Time?  I talk about leader standard work, Dr. Jeff Liker's Leadership Development Model, and the 6 key traits of a lean leader. 
April 13, 2021
Leveraging Lean in Healthcare
In this episode, I talk with Charlie Protzman about how to leverage lean in the healthcare industry.  Charlie gives us some great history around PDCA as well as a deep dive into a few case studies where he applied the BASICS Lean Implementation Model in hospitals.  
April 6, 2021
One Marshmallow Can Change The Way You Think About Problem Solving
In this episode, I play back a recording of a workshop presentation I gave at the Lean Six Sigma World Conference where I discussed the famous Marshmallow Challenge.  I introduced some facilitation techniques and discussion questions for exercise reflection time. 
March 31, 2021
Dr. Jeff Liker and The Toyota Way
In this episode, I interview Dr. Jeff Liker about The Toyota Way 2nd Edition which was recently published.  We talk about sustainment of continuous improvement initiatives, specifically, CONTROL vs. LEARNING environments.  We also discuss how Dr. Liker is using virtual reality to teach The Toyota Way in 2021.    
March 16, 2021
Challenges with Lean and Six Sigma
In this episode, I talk with my guest, John Dennis, about the International Lean Six Sigma Institute.  We talk about the differences between Lean and Six Sigma and dive into the challenges organizations face when adopting these into their organizations.  
March 9, 2021
A New Management System
In this episode, I discuss the new management system needed to support and sustain continuous improvement initiatives.  I give listeners an overview of the leadership traits and behaviors necessary to support lean initiatives. This is a great episode to share with your leadership team!
March 3, 2021
Avoiding The Continuous Appearance Trap
In this episode, listeners will hear an introduction to my new book, Avoiding The Continuous Appearance Trap.  I discuss the book dedication, introduction, and dive into the first of the twelve questions: Are you Content.  Get your copy at
February 23, 2021
Lean Leadership Defined
In this episode, listeners will hear a piece from our Lean Leadership Certification as the Lean Solutions Academy.  I explain the difference between leadership and management, identify the five leadership actions, and define servant leadership.  
February 19, 2021
Value Stream Mapping
In this short episode, I give an introduction to value stream mapping along with six steps to create a value stream map.  I also list the eight point future state criteria.  
February 11, 2021
Toyota Kata, A Practice Routine to Hardwire Scientific Thinking
This episode was recorded as a webinar with Dorsey Sherman, Executive Leadership & Kata Coach.  We define and explore Improvement Kata in detail.  
January 26, 2021
Coaching & Leader Standard Work to Help People Find Certainty in Uncertain Times
In this episode, I talk with Steve Kane, the Director of Customer Success at the Gemba Academy.  This was a recorded webinar from a few months back but is still very relevant today as we begin looking forward into 2021. Enjoy! 
December 22, 2020
Cashing the Check in Lean Transformation with Jack Kahler
In this episode, Jack Kahler and I discuss why "cashing the check" and bottom-line impact is so important for lean initiatives.  We also discuss how to "speak the same language" as executive decision-makers when it comes to improvements and cost savings.  Jack can be contacted by emailing him at
December 8, 2020
Lean in Higher Education
In this episode I talk with Dagmar Vlahos, Lean Professional at the University of New Hampshire about Lean in Higher Education.  We discuss their model for business improvements as well as the impact of covid 19 on her work at the university.  
December 1, 2020
Continue to Improve
In episode 13, I discussed the importance of keeping things simple.  Then in episode 15, I gave a deep dive into keeping things visual.  In this episode, I talk about the final aspect of great lean cultures which is continuous improvement.  I give you three points to remember when developing a continuous improvement culture.  
November 24, 2020
Keep It Visual!
In this episode, I discuss the second area important in supporting a culture of continuous improvement; keep it visual! I talk about three points that are important to remember when it comes to keeping things visual.  Enjoy! 
November 17, 2020
Building Intentional Curiosity with Panos Efsta
In this episode, we travel back to May of 2020 when Panos Efsta presented some great insights around the importance of curiosity and system thinking.  We also talk about TWI, Job Methods, and even Toyota Kata! 
November 6, 2020
Keep It Simple!
One of the biggest reasons people fail to maintain a robust lean system is their desire for complexity. This desire seems to be human nature. We begin simply enough, but then we add more and more levels of complexity until eventually, we have a system that takes far too long to maintain. When we are working with human beings, we must keep things as simple as possible or things will begin to fall apart.  In this episode, I give you three points to remember to help keep things simple.  
October 23, 2020
Thriving in Chaos: A Discussion with the Author, Robert Heath Sr.
In this episode, Robert Heath and I discuss his newest book, Thriving in Chaos, with a deep dive into two of the five steps to mastering your time and improving your personal productivity. 
October 21, 2020
Entrepreneurial Operating System with Ken Kooistra
In this episode I talk with Ken Kooistra, a Professional EOS Implementer at Georgetown Innovations, about the 5 Leadership Abilities taught through the EOS system. 
October 7, 2020
Is It Safe For Your Employees to Fail?
In this episode, I address the topic of failure.  One of my favorite books was written by Michael Abrashoff, a former Navy Commander.  He wrote the book, It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy, a story of organizational transformation and innovative leadership. In this episode I talk about decision making and risk necessary to create a culture of continuous improvement.  Enjoy! 
September 28, 2020
Measures of Success with Mark Graban
In this episode, Mark and I discuss his new book, Measures of Success.  During the conversation, we talk about the ups and downs of business and how to properly measure and manage for success.  Mark gives us an understanding of process behavior charts, vanity metrics, and we even get into the red bead experiment!  Don't forget to check out Mark's new podcast, "My Favorite Mistake." You can also find it at        
September 16, 2020
Behavioral Science Applied to Business
In this episode I talk with Edward Blackman, global consultant and founder of Kelda Consulting, about behavior and how it affects business.  We discuss topics like feedback, performance reviews, the red bead experiment, and company strategy.  Enjoy!
September 10, 2020
Who's Responsible for Bad Decisions?
In this episode, I introduce an empowerment coninuum we use to help determine the level of empowerment in an organization and whether or not teams are ready to move toward shared accountability. 
August 27, 2020
Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn
In this episode, I spoke with Katie Anderson just before her book launch and gained an insider's view of how the book was written and why.  Listen in as Katie talks about her and Mr. Yoshino's intentions behind the book, their journey together, and the many learnings along the way for Mr. Yoshino and Katie herself. 
August 21, 2020
The US Marine Corps and Sustaining Lean Initiatives
In this episode, I give three ways to sustain lean initiatives as learned in recruit training at the US Marine Corps.  
August 5, 2020
The Toyota Engagement Equation
In this episode, I replay a webinar with Ernie and Tracey Richardson as we discuss their book, 'The Toyota Engagement Equation' and the many leanrings from working with Toyota over 30 years. 
July 29, 2020
Fuel the Fire of Continuous Improvement
In this episode, I talk about the ingredients necessary to spark and maintain a fire of continuous improvement in your organization. 
July 14, 2020
Getting People Unstuck
In this episode, I'll be talking specifically about the leadership behaviors necessary to support a continuous improvement journey. 
July 4, 2020
The BASICS Lean Implementation Model
Dan Protzman, Vice President of Customer Solutions for the Business Improvement Group, explains the BASICS Lean Implementation Model, a 6-step roadmap for lean implementation in your organization.  
June 27, 2020