Indeed, the reasons advanced by David are the same that launched me on a journey to find some new ways to make Lean sticks once the coach turns away from a team (as if often requested from an internal Lean Coach, which is my situation). More precisely, this might be why the best approach to Lean teaching might be to work with a Lean sensei (as advocated by, for instance, Michael Ballé [web]).
Although I totally agree with David’s reasons for being wary of the way most consulting companies introduce Lean, I would not throw the baby with the bath water. There are some people who try to promote a respectful deployment of Lean (as if “respect for people” should have gone away from Lean!). The original “Boston Lean” authors as mentioned by David are just the first of them, despite the fac that their work has too often been misunderstood and the focus on tools be the norm. Granted, at the time the initial Lean books were written, Toyota Production System knowledge outside Toyota was mostly focused on the visible parts, namely the tools. Yet the respect part of it was already there. Michael Ballé’s two (Shingo) prized books (“The Gold Mine” and “The Lean Manager“) also feature the people aspects intertwined with the tools.
Lastly, Michael’s latest book in french have a whole part dedicated to that respect for people and how Lean is supposed to turn the gemba into a thrivable environment (“Le Management Lean” with Godefroy Beauvallet).
So, should we be wary of “Boston Lean“? Definitely when it means focusing on “toolbox Lean”! But I’m not sure that creating a side track with Lean Kanban is also the thing to do, despite helping in the short-term.
A reinforcement of the respect for people part of Lean, what it can bring in the short, middle and long-term to the organization’s betterment is, to me, the definitive path to look after. It’s the duty of Lean coaches to prove that we can achieve safety, quality, delays and cost improvements all the while making employees thrive at work. Indeed, this is the only thing that works on the long-term.