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Mike Thelen

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Hiring a Lean Mindset

I was recently asked if I was aware of any research on the advantages of hiring people with a “Lean mindset” vs. those with specific industry experience. My response was, regretfully, that I did not know of any documented research. I was then asked, would I prefer that my company hire people with a “Lean…

Beware of Tools and 'The Next Big Thing'

Isn’t it amazing how there’s “the next big thing” everyday? Headlines from blogs, sales websites, newspapers, even Twitter and LinkedIn, carry this headline continuously. How many of these “things” really are new? Years ago when I started my continuous improvement journey, I read about Deming and Juran. Quality Circles and SPC were big. Then Total…


Why Lean Manufacturing Fails

During both prosperous and difficult times, successful businesses naturally look for new ways to improve performance. However, in recent years, as the world economy suffered through one of the worst recessions in history, many companies turned in droves to Lean and other variations of continuous improvement programs to rescue their sagging businesses. But, did they…