The Edges of Lean — Ep 108 Rapid Growth and the Power of Lean with Catherine Chabiron

Catherine Chabiron is an expert in lean management and an author. She recently wrote a book called Learning to Scale at the Theodo Group, which describes how a company faced with dramatic growth used lean thinking to avoid what Catherine calls Big Company Disease. She joined me at the Edges of Lean to discuss what she learned when she went to the Gemba with this company and its founders.


Catherine Chabiron   


Catherine is an accomplished Lean executive coach in France and plays a significant role in leading the Lean Service community at Institut Lean France. She is also a renowned author and teacher, specializing in problem-solving and sharing her experiences from Gemba walks in lean companies through her publication Notes from the Gemba on Planet Lean.

With 40 years of experience, Catherine is considered a Lean Management Sensei. She has authored numerous books and articles on lean methodology, focusing on helping companies transform their culture and enhance employee engagement to adapt to growth challenges.






00:00:11 Lean management drives rapid growth.

00:05:42 The differences between Lean vs Agile in software development.

00:08:10 Why is it important to focus on the customer and not just process in growth situations?

00:13:51 Flexibility is the key in processes.

00:24:02 The importance of employee engagement and problem-solving skills.

00:25:00 Lean principles drive company success.

00:28:21 The need to keep learning as a leader.

00:29:03 Continuous learning drives organizational improvement

00:35:20 The importance of visiting the gemba.





  • Lean management can help companies avoid the big company disease that often occurs with rapid growth.
  • Agile and Lean are complementary approaches, but Agile alone may not address all the challenges of scaling a company.
  • Leaders should ask about normal and abnormal conditions to encourage problem-solving and learning.
  • Talent can be identified by the quality of the countermeasures proposed by employees to address problems.
  • Scaling a company requires a balance between challenge and competence to drive growth and development.
  • Watching and observing the actual work happening in the company is essential for understanding the challenges and opportunities for improvement.



Memorable Quotes From Catherine Chabiron


“Identify talents when you visit by looking at the quality of the countermeasures they propose.”



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