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Using this Book


Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless,and add what is specifically your own.

– Bruce Lee

The Buddha himself famously said, “Be a lamp unto yourselves,” telling his students they must test everything he said against their own experience. Just as adopting another organization’s best practices without clearly understanding why they exist and the context in which they were implemented will often fail, mindlessly adopting new personal and professional leadership methods can also fail.

As you read this book, think about the concepts in each section and how they might apply to you and your team. Take and use what makes sense, modify it to fit your situation, and leave the rest, perhaps for another day.

The book is organized into eight parts, each with a different purpose:

  • Part One: Fundamentals– A quick history lesson and exploration of the basics of Lean and Zen.
  • Part Two: Reconnect– Before doing anything, a leader has to be in touch with her or his inner self.
  • Part Three: Create– Methods to improve personal productivity to prepare for the work that is coming.
  • Part Four: Lead– How to engage and lead your team as you begin the improvement journey.
  • Part Five: Clarify–Clarifying what you and your organization are about, defining the current state and the desired future state, and creating a plan.
  • Part Six: Simplify– Using your new plan, you can take the first step and simplify your operation within the context of that plan.
  • Part Seven: Improve– Methods to identify and execute improvement projects within the context of your plan
  • Part Eight: Grow– Within ongoing improvement projects in place, it is time to stretch yourself and your organization even further.

If you’d like to dive deeper into some of the concepts used in this book, the Resources section at the back has a list of books I recommend reading. You can also find links to multiple online resources at http://www.TheSimpleLeader.com. There, you’ll find links to the same books on Amazon, as well as other online resources, including videos.