Lean Blog — 487: Embracing the Lean Mindset in GE Aerospace: A Conversation With Two Leaders

Episode page with transcript and more: https://leanblog.org/487

In today’s episode, we’re joined by two Lean leaders from GE Aerospace:

  • Sam Ruehle, Lean Operations Leader, Lean Transformation Team
  • Greg Pothoff, Executive Director – Business Management Aviation Supply Chain

I interviewed them after the GE Lean Mindset event that was held last month in New York.  Two separate conversations, but common themes — and the same questions of two Lean leaders at different stages of their careers, Sam being a recent college graduate and Greg having 25 years of Lean experience, starting first in the auto industry (which is actually where I first met him 20 years ago).

I asked the same core questions, found below, but each conversation is unique as we learn about their roles at GE and their reactions to the Lean Mindset event.

Sam emphasizes the importance of the Lean mindset as being framed by three essential pillars: Respect for People, Continuous Improvement, and Customer Focus. As a young leader, she combines this Lean mindset with a touch of humility, an open mind, and an emphasis on collective problem-solving to catalyze impactful changes.

One of Greg’s core beliefs is the importance of focusing on the smaller, incremental changes in addition to the larger, more noticeable ones. He also stresses the need for establishing a blame-free learning environment, where employees are encouraged to experiment, make mistakes, and more importantly, learn from them.

Questions, Notes, and Highlights:

  • How would you describe a “Lean Mindset”?
  • What is an underappreciated aspect of the “Lean Mindset”?
  • What surprised you most about the Lean Mindset event?
  • What advice would you have for others about developing a “Lean Mindset”?
  • What is one change you have had to personally make to lead in this way?

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in its 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.

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