Leaning into Lean

Who Leaned into Lean?



The Toyota team and Henry Ford had a very fierce competition back in the 1930s. Both of them manufactured automobiles massively and were at the top of the industry with their innovative models. However, by the time Model, Ts came into the market, there were times when Henry Ford failed at one thing that gave his competitors an important edge. The customers no longer needed to get from point a to point b, but they were looking for more such as speed, convenience. Here’s where Ford failed to be responsive and quick to change, a mindset that Lean embraced. So, who ended up leaning into Lean? Toyota. In fact, the Toyota team took Ford models as a starting point, and decided to improve to the point that a system was created, the famous “the Toyota Production System”.


Lean and Agile, The intersection


Have they ever really being apart from one another? It’s the question that coach Marcelo as part of the audience voices out. To this question, coach Leon replies with a series of undeniable duos that were made to be together: Peaches & Herbs, Peanut butter and Jelly, Salt and Pepper, can we have one without the other? The intersection between these two is “the customer”.


How does the customer benefit from Lean and Agile? Consistency and meeting expectation, changing demands from Agile, quality from both, limiting waste, faster return of investment, etc taken from the answers of the audience in a fruitful conversation does shed a light on the harmony there is between one and the other.


Now, the reason why we might not have one without the other also responds to a larger conversation about Agility and how we can see its principles being applied throughout history. Key agents of change for better or worse leaned into adaptability, quick responsiveness, intentionality, efficiency, and so on to conquer new territories, for example.



Now what we know as Lean and Agile might be a byproduct of a greater set of principles that are indeed complex and hard to master. People take years to understand enough of them to be able to apply it to their current workspace, daily life, and challenges in general.


If you liked this summary, but are left wanting to be a part of the conversation, please don’t miss the full video where you will enjoy all the topics the coaches brought to the table. Chi.


Key topics:

  • Which came first? Lean or Agile?

  • Who Invented Flow Production?

  • What an endless stream of Model T car meant for the buying public

  • A Lean core concept Henry Ford Fail at.

  • What the Toyota team saw that Henry Ford did not

  • Toyota's production system principles

  • Lean and Agile, The intersection.

  • Core concepts (principles) of Lean? What Agile principle supports it

Watch the full meeting here:



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