Lean Blog Interviews — 454: Why Damon Baker Thinks Lean Has a Marketing Problem; the Need to Speak the CEO’s Language

CEO of “Lean Focus”

Episode page with video, transcript, and more

My guest for Episode #454 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Damon Baker. He is the founder and CEO of the firm Lean Focus. He’s also a Private Equity Partner at Coltala Holdings.

Damon Baker has been implementing Lean practices in various GM & VP-level capacities for more than 25 years, but it was at Danaher, where he worked for nine years, that his passion for true business transformation was born. He was instrumental in developing Danaher’s company-wide Problem-Solving Process, and was inspired to create a new, comprehensive business system that enables organizations to improve on all fronts.

He has worked in a Shingo Prize-winning facility and is a Shingo Prize Examiner.

Over his career, Damon have demonstrated hands-on leadership and facilitation of 500+ kaizen events in close to 100 major corporations in 16 different countries.

Today, we discuss topics and questions including:

  • How did you first get introduced to Lean or TPS — what was the context and the circumstances?
  • Want people to have a positive experience with Lean…
  • Evaluating someone’s lineage?? Company, influences, who they learned from??
  • What were the key components of the Danaher Business System — and why a “business system” instead of a “production system”?
  • You say “The Lean community has a marketing problem” — why is that and how do you define that problem?
  • Our language vs. the language CEOs speak
  • CEOs care about value creation, making the quarter, how Lean is going to help them
  • Conferences as echo chambers — where are CEOs and CHROs going to?
  • “Our CEO isn’t buying in…” — what do you suggest?
  • How many CEOs are “Lean Zealots” like Art Byrne??
  • Tell us more about your firm Lean Focus –what types of clients do you serve?
  • Lean in private equity — What does PE care about?? Vs. Public Equity
  • Has there been a shift in the PE philosophy on extracting value vs. creating value, or do some just do it differently / better?
  • Tell us about the “Ownership Works Initiative” — KKR and other firms (TPG)

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

This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network