Jeff Hajek’s Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean? Building the bridge from job satisfaction to corporate profit” is written for the people at the sharp-end of the Lean transformation process. Hajek says the main goals of the book are to:
1) increase the collaboration between overwhelmed employees and overburdened managers and
2) help the frontline workforce find job satisfaction in highly productive, fast-paced, rapidly changing workplaces.
For me the book was a refreshing read and it more than achieves both of these aims.
Although it covers managing the Lean process, anticipating and proactively responding to resistance to Lean and, most critically, obtaining buy-in the book would also be of enormous benefit to any worker who hate Monday morning or those people affected by change and/or continuous improvement processes. So perhaps the title is slightly misleading?
Most business books are written for managers which is why I think this makes Hajek’s book unique as it is very clearly written for the “doers” and “implementers” in very practical and down-to-earth language. It provides an excellent format to answer many questions that people have at the start of a lean journey beginning with WIIFM (what’s in it for me?). I believe this is important as often employees don’t ask basic questions for fear that they look our sound stupid.
Chapters 1-5 provide an introduction to Lean and how it benefits both the individual and the company. Just by reading these chapters the doer will hopefully become motivated to embrace lean. Chapters 6-11 present the psychological and cultural concerns people have during change.
Generally, chapters are written in a problem / solution style; “Strategies”, “Problems,” “How this affects you,” “Action to take” and “Why this works.” The clear layout of the book means that you don’t have to read it in chapter order: you can just turn to the section which describes the solution of the problem that you are currently struggling with.
“Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean” is a must read for anyone engaged in the lean implementation process. I highly recommend this book.