Summary of Leading Lean

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Leading Lean book summary

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Deloitte’s lean management expert Jean Dahl explains the importance of implementing lean processes and fostering lean leaders. Applying the concepts of operating according to lean principles, she explains how to develop leaders who put lean concepts to best use. She details why lean leaders must satisfy customer requirements and meet their more subtle, usually unfulfilled needs. She emphasizes that leaders must master their own abilities before they can teach others – a crucial facet of their mission. 

About the Author

Jean Dahl is a specialist leader within Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Lean Agile Advisory and Strategy practice. She is also the executive director of the Modern Lean Institute, a nonprofit devoted to helping the world develop and build lean leaders.


Businesses must adapt to change or face extinction.

As the world faces increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA), senior executives must embrace the ongoing need to adapt to change, offer tangible value to customers and keep their businesses thriving.

The core of lean practices and leadership is the understanding that businesses should put customers first. Lean leaders set out to satisfy customer requirements on every level – including both the obvious and the unseen. If they fail, they will cease to create and offer value and will imperil their organizational stability. In the decade leading up to 2030, about 40% of today’s organizations will implode.

In lean terminology, the word “customer” has a broad connotation and bespeaks greater challenges for leaders. Your customers include the colleagues who create and deliver your products and services, the people who buy your products, and others whom your product and services affect or influence.

Lean thinking relies on the scientific method.

Lean leaders do not let local...

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