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3 Noteworthy Continuous Improvement Books from 2019

Posted by Greg Jacobson

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Dec 17, 2019 8:01:11 AM

Every year, the collective wisdom about how to lead organizations and engage in continuous improvement continues to grow. Many of the core principles remain unchanged, but new ways of thinking about how we get close to perfection emerge, and new voices add their insight to the conversation. In 2019 several new books were published that we think are worth your consideration. If you are putting together a reading list for the holidays or you need some new audiobooks for a long drive, here are three great ideas.

frictionFriction – The Untapped Force That Can Be Your Most Powerful Advantage

About the Author

Friction is by Roger Dooley. It was published in May of this year. Roger Dooley is the founder of Dooley Direct, a consulting agency. He also co-founded College Confidential, the leading college-bound website. He spent years in direct marketing as the co-founder of a successful catalog firm, and before that was the director of corporate planning for a Fortune 1000 company. He has an engineering degree from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from the University of Tennessee.

What You'll Learn

Dooley defines friction as the "unnecessary expenditure of time, effort, or money in performing a task." This may scream "waste" to Lean practitioners, but Friction helps make this kind of waste personal in a way that may be new to managers. Dooley says, "My intention for this book is to give you and every other reader your very own pair of friction goggles," the author, speaker, and entrepreneur writes. "These goggles will help you discover friction."

He argues that the lack of friction is the secret to Amazon's success. He explains that one of the most important reasons for Amazon's dominance is its ability to make things easier for customers to do. The 1-click buying process and free shipping with Prime are examples of how Amazon greases the skids for customers. Dooley believes that "Decreasing friction increases action."

The book is full of other examples from the Roman roads to Uber's cab-hailing app. It reads like a keynote speech and is both entertaining and informative. This book will not only help managers recognize friction, but it will also motivate them to do something about it.


Get-Lean-Stacked-Books-v2-231x300Shut Up, Get Lean: How to Stop Simply Talking About Lean Manufacturing and Actually Start Building Your Culture of Continuous Improvement

About the Authors

Shut Up, Get Lean comes to us from the incredible team of Ray Leathers and Susan Nally.

Ray Leathers is a venerated manufacturing industry leader and CI expert and decorated U.S. Army officer. His 40-year career in manufacturing included experience in Canada, Japan, Europe, the Caribbean, and the United States, and he has worked for American, British, Japanese and Austrian firms. Ray has long been recognized by professional associations throughout the United States as an innovative leader for the implementation of a lean culture.

Susan A. Nally developed her consulting business, LeanForward Inc., speaking and training on Lean System strategies, conducting Lean Boot Camps, VSMs, 6S Launches, Team Building Camps, and process improvement kaizen events.

What You'll Learn

In Shut Up, Leathers and Nally get real about what works, and what can go wrong. They distill and simplify Lean tools and strategies so readers can apply them right away. The book has three sections.

1. Shutting Up: Listening to the Lessons that Can Transform Your Business

2. Getting Lean: Tools, Systems and Strategies You Can Use

3. Staying Inspired: Stories to Encourage and Guide You

The book offers a roadmap for creating a sustainable culture of continuous improvement using time-tested methods, repeatable steps, and paradigm shifts that are not difficult to achieve. It's full of real-world examples and insider information about the lean strategies that led to the successful turnaround of a mid-sized U.S. manufacturing company.


measuresMeasures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More

About the Author

We can't say if we are bragging or simply offering full disclosure, but Measures of Success comes to you from Mark Graban, a Senior Advisor to KaiNexus. Mark has a remarkable background in improvement practices as a consultant, professional speaker, and blogger.

Mark has worked with executives and frontline employees in many industries to hone and practice continuous improvement, including Lean management, statistical modeling, and people-centered leadership. In addition to serving as our Senior Advisor, he also advises healthcare clients with the firm Value Capture.

He's also the author of several other CI leadership books including: Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement, Second Edition, and Practicing Lean: Learning How to Learn How to Get Better... Better.

What You'll Learn

Most organizations depend on metrics for running the business, but not all know how to use them to help people do the right things, rather than overreacting to every data blip. In short, lots of us are reacting to noise. In Measures of Success, Mark explains that there will always be noise in the data, but its how we respond to that noise that causes waste and stress.

Measures of Success offers a better way to chart and manage essential metrics in any organization or setting. You need to know what's working, what's not, and what to change. And why. Then, you can determine what to stop doing, what to start doing, what to keep doing.

You'll learn:

  • How to identify meaningful signals in a metric and how (and whether) to respond.
  • Proven methods for filtering out noise from process control charts, so you can detect signals
  • How to ensure that metrics deliver real value

Digging into some of the best continuous improvement books of 2019 is a terrific way to get your mind in gear is you jump into 2020. We hope you'll enjoy these.

Got other favorites? Feel free to note them in the comments.

Topics: Lean, Improvement Process

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