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Lean Tools, Training, and Systems


Lean Thinking

"Thinking is the hardest work there is. That's why so few people do it." Henry Ford

By far the most important step of any problem solving method is


to pause to analyze, ponder, and reflect

on what has been discovered, what has been learned, what is still unknown...

to conceive possible countermeasures

that go beyond "obvious" initial thoughts

to daydream about alternate futures

that are more desirable, more compelling, more...


Hansei is the Japanese word for this form of self-reflection, and it should be the single most important activity to happen in every PDCA cycle.


Ponder, Think, Reflect


When to use

Hansei Lean Thinking

Every time that you reach the 'Study' or 'Check' phase of the PDSA or PDCA cycle,

it's time for each of your team members to (independently) think, ponder, and reflect:

  1. What did you expect to happen?
  2. What actually happened?
  3. What did you learn?
  4. What still needs to be learned?
  5. What experiment should we do next?
  6. How should that experiment be designed?
  7. When ready, what's the best way to standardize?

    to secure, ratchet, and expand our hard-won learnings

Deep Thinking is best done alone

Deep thinking is best done alone in a silent, focused state of deep reverie.

Knowing this, most experienced teams allow a day or two after identifying problems and root causes before moving into proposed countermeasures.


How to use this hansei page

This page is not meant to be read like a book.

It is overflowing with questions and idea-starters...

each one worthy of focused attention at different times, to solve different problems

The most successful way to use this page

is to bookmark it, and come back to it each time that you have completed another cycle of Process Analysis and you are ready to (again) begin thinking about Process Improvement

(in a never-ending cycle of continuous improvement)

In a quiet, comfortable setting...

(perhaps with a warm beverage)

Review what you have learned so far by using your chosen Problem Solving Method.

What is known? What is unknown?

Set your intention

What is your intention for this Hansei session?

(Perhaps to come up with creative countermeasures for a specific challenge)

Enter an empowered state of mind

Enjoy some short ritual that brings you to an empowered state of calm alertness

Perhaps do a quick refresher
of our online training for

How to use trance for process improvement

hansei - ponder

Wander, then focus

With partially focused eyes, allow your attention to wander as your eyes dance over the somewhat blurry words on this Hansei page...

until your attention effortlessly settles on one question or idea that draws you to it


Ponder that question or idea...

scribbling short notes, but not getting too detailed yet


Then repeat that same habit... again and again...

until you surprise yourself with how many creative and useful ideas you have come up with.


Later... come back to your scribbled notes, and choose which ones you want to flesh out in greater detail

Perhaps using your decision making tools and/or perhaps using your Change Management template (ChangeMgmt.xlsx) to think about how to best present your ideas to the various stakeholders that might be affected by the changes.

Create Change

Complete the final phases of your chosen Problem Solving Method to:

  1. Physically implement change
  2. Validate whether or not those changes produced your expected results
  3. Either Start Over - with fresh ideas,
    or Standardize and Socialize your success

Perhaps use your Tool Selection Matrix (1ToolSelection.xlsx) to choose useful Process Improvement Tools and Systems to implement your ideas.

And then don't keep this a secret

People that consistently come up with well-conceived and well-presented great ideas will inevitably be promoted to higher levels of responsibility and influence.

One of the most important roles of any leader is to groom others
to improve their own habits and systems for creative thinking and problem solving...

ideally using teachable, repeatable systems for continuous improvement

like this one


Reflection Idea-Starter Questions

to stimulate Hansei and Lean Thinking

Time to reflect
flow spigot
messy boys

Who needs standard work?


Lean Thinking = Systemic Thinking

Systemic Thinking consists of both:

1) Analytical thinking

(very common)

Thinking about parts or elements.

Taking apart.

Isolating root causes.

2) Synthetical thinking

(much less common)

Thinking about how parts and elements interact as part of a greater whole.

Looking for repeating patterns and themes.

Identifying similar processes that could also benefit from your most recent learning lessons.

Tool Selection Matrix

To find tools to expand your thinking,
filter the 'Expand' column
in your Tool Selection Matrix


Lean Process Design Objectives

Objectives to keep in mind when getting into the details of lean process engineering

The most important lean objectives


Technical Design objectives

Idea poppers

Alien thinking


"The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your questions."

~ Tony Robbins


Hansei Social Design Objectives

Empower Customer Contact Personnel

Design simple processes and fulfilling jobs

In general, process redesign should:

Reduce organizational boundaries

Re-draw organizational boundaries to:


Every lean tool needs
a corresponding
Lean Coaching System

Recast management as a supporting role

When front-line people are empowered, they need:

They don't need:

Ensure job security

Job Security Promise

Reassure people that it is safe to contribute their ideas for process improvement, using your templates for:



Hansei Idea Generation Tools

for continuous process improvement

Some of the more popular Idea Generation tools for lean process improvement include:

Leader Standard Work
Lean Management Systems
Muda Observation
Waste Observation
Process Analysis
Process Analysis
Issues & Ideas template
Problem Solving Tools
Event Checklist
Kaizen Events
Decision Matrix
Decision Making tools
A3 Report
A3 Problem Solving
8D Problem Solving
8D Problem Solving
PDCA Coaching
PDCA Coaching
Fishbone Diagram
Root Cause Analysis
Brainstorming template
Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning
Relations Diagram
Relations Diagram
Change Management
Change Management
X Matrix
Hoshin Team Catchball
Voice of the Customer
Voice of the Customer
One Good Idea
Idea Storyboard
value stream mapping volume mix
Value Stream Design Forms
Flowchart template
Flow Charts
Standard Work for Hansei
Standard Work
Value Stream Management
Value Stream Analysis
SMED hansei
SMED Setup Reduction
Yamazumi hansei


Tool Selection Matrix


There are many more lean tools that can be used to expand your team's thinking.

To find them, filter the 'Expand' column in your Tool Selection Matrix

Own all of these templates for Continuous Process Improvement


to empower every team to improve every process in your organization






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