Business = People + Processes + Value

We might be fresh off our Dec. 7 professional development meeting featuring Worthington Industries President Mark Russell and Fisher College of Business Professor Jeff Ford, but we’re already deep into planning our event roster for next year. One of the process improvement experts you’ll have access to in 2013 is Art Byrne, author of the book The Lean Turnaround and a guest Tuesday on a regular slate of webcasts hosted by our friends at the Lean Enterprise Institute.

Byrne (pictured in an image courtesy has experience implementing lean transformations in more than 30 companies and has spent time as a CEO, at telecommunications manufacturer Wiremold. While Byrne bills his book as one aimed at CEOs, it’s more because he views the lean turnaround from a business perspective, not simply through its key tools – and that’s a viewpoint anyone can use.

Set to speak at a May 9, 2013, COE event, Byrne touches on how the tools fit into the larger picture and how they can help develop a sustained lean culture. I like best, however, his views on the importance of perspective in lean turnarounds:

“I look at (a lean turnaround) in a very simplistic way, which is that business is a combination of people, processes and trying to deliver value to customers,” Byne told the webcast audience. “If you make it more complicated than that I’m afraid you’re just hurting yourself.”

He also takes aim at the ages-old CEO talking point of a “strategy to create shareholder value.”

“That’s a result, not a strategy,” Byrne said, adding that creating values for customers should be the strategy.

His most pointed piece of advice, though, came when discussing how damaging accepting the status quo can be, in matters as specific as lead time and as overarching as an organization’s perceived success.

“If you’re leading a business and you don’t want to dramatically improve results, from my perspective you’re in the wrong job.”

Keep an eye out on our site early next year for details on Byrne’s visit to the Fisher College of Business.

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