Using Books to Ignite Improvement

Leader's Handbook cover graphic

Recommended Reading From an Employee-Owned Company

Soon after, another Web Industries employee picked up “Kanban Made Simple,” a guide for adopting Kanban, Toyota Motor Corp.’s just-in-time manufacturing process by John M. Gross and Kenneth R. McInnis. Within weeks, other employees were reading it. A group of machine operators used the book’s ideas to slash chronic late deliveries and improve scheduling processes.

In the 18 months since Mr. Quarrey picked up “Ideas Are Free,” he’s gotten back into business books – largely because of his enthusiastic employees. Web Industries, a Hartford, Conn., manufacturer, is a 100% employee-owned company. “It’s a very weird experience to be in your factory and have people comparing business books they’ve read,” he says.

There are excellent books available that would help you improve your organization. I have mentioned some of my favorite management books before but here some are again: The Leader’s Handbook by Peter Scholtes, Toyota Talent by Jeffrey Liker and David Meier, Six Sigma Beyond the Factory Floor by Ron Snee and Roger Hoerl, Lean Solutions by James Womack and Daniel Jones and The New Economics for Industry, Government, and Education by W. Edwards Deming.

My main suggestion is to read excellent books regardless of when they were written. The Human Side of Enterprise by Douglas McGregor, Fourth Generation Management by Brian Joiner, and many others might not be new but they offer more than almost any new books you will find. There is nothing wrong with excellent new books, just don’t think that because a book is 10 or even 30 years old your organization has already adopted most of the good ideas. In my experience, if more than 20% of the books you read for management ideas in the last few years are less than 5 years old you are making a mistake and would benefit a great deal from reading books written earlier.

Related: Curious Cat management article libraryCurious Cat Management Improvement booksWorkplace Management reviewAckoff’s New Book, Management f-Laws

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