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Building the Fit Organization: Six Core Principles for Making Your Company Stronger, Faster, and More Competitive Hardcover – September 21, 2015
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From the Back Cover
“Dan Markovitz continues his enduring quest to help organizations, leaders, and people to contribute more with less, to improve effectiveness not just efficiency, to increase achievement and enjoyment. He is a writer of noble intent, making an impact through the hard discipline of writing well.”
- Jim Collins, author, Good to Great, Built to Last, and Great by Choice
“Outstanding performance is the goal. Organizational health is the means. And fitness is at the core of it all. Markovitz is spot on regarding his observations and recommendations for building a fit organization that thrills customers, thrives during difficult times, and provides a meaningful work environment for the employees who deserve nothing less.”
- Karen Martin, President, The Karen Martin Group, author, The Outstanding Organization
“Dan is one of today's leading voices revealing the role of skill development in organizations, and how practice is a vital ingredient for acquiring new skill, mindset and making change really happen.”
- Mike Rother, author of Toyota Kata
“Dan brings to life the essence of a successful continuous improvement journey- it is all about the people. By reframing the journey as a quest for organizational fitness, Dan captures practical, profound insights that will drive any aspiring Lean organization to greater success.”
- Bob Chapman, CEO, Barry-Wehmiller
“Dan Markovitz is a remarkable sensei, and this book reflects his ability to take complex content and make it digestible and actionable. Dan makes us realize that lean is not a mystery that migrated from Japan but skills that anyone can master regardless of their industry or line of work. This book should encourage readers to use lean thinking at work and in their personal life.”
- Sherry Neubert, Chief Information Officer, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
"In writing Building the Fit Organization Dan Markovitz explains what it takes to become a successful Lean Organization without using any of the Lean jargon…making the subject more understandable and approachable. And in doing so, he demonstrates that any organization, not just manufacturing, can become Fit. For executives that have either avoided the subject until now, or those who have tried and struggled with it, Building the Fit Organization is required reading."
- Orry Fiume, Vice President Finance-Retired: The Wiremold Company and co-author, Real Numbers:Management Accounting in a Lean Organization
“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago ... so to with starting the journey to organizational fitness. The second best time is TODAY. Building the Fit Organization shows you how, with specific first steps for next Monday morning. Thanks Dan Markovitz for sharing your wisdom. Whether personally, or organizationally, you remind us that there is always room for improvement.”
- Rich Sheridan, CEO, Chief Storyteller, Menlo Innovations, Author, Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love
"What do physical fitness and organizational fitness have in common? More than you think. Dan Markovitz’s ability to help you think in different ways about your organization makes Building the Fit Organization a must read for all leaders."
- Helen Zak, President and COO, ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value
“Dan is right: This book is not about running, and it is not about Toyota improvement methods. Nonetheless, the book shows how you can become a better runner if you follow a few principles, and how a company can improve by following those same principles. Dan has a remarkable talent in making things simple and proving that companies may already know most of what is needed to improve. No copying of Toyota concepts, no strange terms or ideas – just a little learning, hard work, and good coaching.”
- Norbert Majerus, Lean champion at The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and Author of Lean-Driven Innovation
“Dan Markovitz uses the fitness metaphor to provide great practical insights on lean transformation. The book is full of good thinking punctuated by thought provoking examples.”
- Peter Ward, Co-Director, Center for Operational Excellence, Fisher College of Business
“Dan does a fantastic job of presenting both the theory and the practical applications critical for moving towards being a fit company. His approach is direct and easily translated into actionable items for today’s business leader. As I read the book I found myself constantly making lists of actions that I later shared with my team so we could become a more fit organization.”
- Brian Thompson, General Manager, ExOfficio
“Dan has done it again with Building the Fit Organization. He has identified the essential shift and plan needed to create a fit organization. He has created the perfect analogy of linking the trifecta of key elements for creating a true Lean Enterprise Transformation (People, Process and Purpose) to a successful physical fitness plan. He identifies the key attributes in Process with the necessary horizontal flow and leader standard work. He defines the need for Servant Leadership and extensive coaching at all levels with the organizations most valuable asset, its People. He then draws the work out plan to cover an organizations Purpose with practical tools and elements for operational excellence and truly achieving the organizations purpose. A must read for all athletes of performance improvement.
- John M. Rubio, Vice President, Simpler NA/Truven Health Analytics
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
In his new book, Dan absolutely nails it with his "Six Core Principles"- they provide both a solid/saleable business case, to gain the necessary stskeholder buy-in, and just the right amount of tools/templates that scale from individual teams to entire enterprises (and, I believe, across companies) to get excellent results.
After each chapter, I started trying out the techniques and tools. They work exactly as described. So my personal ROI" from this book has been nothing less than astonishing.
The author compares a fit organization to a fit athlete, recommending that you start not by trying to emulate the very best but by doing exercises so that you gradually improve your competitiveness in all relevant dimensions. The six principles are:
• Commit to improvement: have a clearly defined improvement program to reach your organizational goals
• Increase value: monitor, fix and improve your operational processes instead of trying to cut costs
• Think horizontally: instead of thinking in functional silos, view the entire process by which the company adds value from the customer’s perspective
• Standard work: the people who are actually doing the job define their current understanding of the best way to do it
• Visual management: create a visual management system which allows you to see the quality and pace of the work
• The coaching triangle: the elements of a successful coaching relationship are: participate, go and see, and show respect.
I am not fully convinced by all of the author’s ideas – for example, I am not sure that visual management is for everyone – but I do think that most readers will find plenty of helpful content in this book.
He proposes an intriguing idea and backs it up with solid research. I found it useful.
Dan understands the key to a successful implementation of Continuous Improvement: Anyone can start a marathon, but the real trick is to train yourself to become a marathon runner.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, it's both smart and practical.
In his latest book, Building the Fit Organization: Six Core Principles for Making Your Company Stronger, Faster, and More Competitive, author and lean practitioner Dan Markovitz, adds one more: Toyota worship. (Disclosure: I got a review copy of the book from Markovitz, who is a faculty member of the Lean Enterprise Institute, my employer.)
“Indeed, legions of companies around the world make pilgrimages to the head office in Japan to learn Toyota’s secrets,” Markovitz writes in the Introduction. “They purchase books by the score on the “Toyota Way” as it applies to leadership, culture, healthcare, product development, and pretty much any other field you care to name. They deploy phalanxes of Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belts (along with a host of other colored belts) throughout their organizations. Yet they still prove unable to copy Toyota’s way to success.”
Markovitz mentions Toyota, the prototype lean company, just three times, and lean not at all after the introduction. It’s not that he doesn’t admire the auto giant. He does. But he’s convinced that trying to mimic Toyota’s tools or culture is a mistake.
Rather than trying to copy Toyota, leaders must learn from it, “learn how to convert their flabby organizations into ‘fit’ ones. Markovitz distills lean management into six principles, devoting a chapter to each, for getting fit:
1. Making an unshakeable commitment to -
2. Increase value provided by -
3.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the best Lean (without calling it Lean) book. Good examples, easy to read, with practical sections. Highly recommended.Published 6 months ago by Canadian Reader
Very disappointed. Read Toyota and lean process improvement books instead.Published 6 months ago by Glenna M. Frey
This is an insightful and helpful quick read for organizational leaders. Markovitz draws parallels between athletics and business processes in a narrative that crackles with... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Bill Y
I'd recommend this book to any business leader. Markovitz has an exceptional understanding of organizational structure, of what's working when productivity is optimal and what's... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Lerxst Choppin
Having spent most of my career in a large company, with all of its departments, units, P&Ls and so on, I found the insights in "Building The Fit Organization" to be both... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Andrew Ladden
As a relative Lean novice, I greatly appreciated how approachable and relatable this book is. The fitness analogies really helped me grasp and use the principles, and they've also... Read morePublished 9 months ago by LYNN Brody