The Edges of Lean — Ep 74 Continuous Improvement and Why Tools are Not Enough, with Martina Kuhlmeyer

Continuous Improvement and Why Tools are Not Enough, with Martina Kuhlmeyer

Martina Kuhlmeyer has an impeccable lean background, including a Master Blackbelt certification from GE.  So why is she not focused on lean tools these days? Let’s hear her tell the story about how she learned that tools were not enough.

  Martina Kuhlmeyer

Martina Kuhlmeyer is the Founder of Power Up Your Team. As an Executive Coach, she is helping CEOs and Founders build a more resilient team so they can grow their businesses with confidence and ease. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Martina spent 30+ years working for small and several Fortune 100 companies. Moreover, Martina held a variety of executive roles focused on driving large strategic change initiatives, leading programs to build organizational continuous improvement capabilities, improving business operations, and building successful teams.




0:02:47 The Impact of Lean in the Service Industry

0:07:03 The Importance of Engaging IT in Process Improvement Projects

0:18:51 The Benefits of Automation in the Workplace

 0:21:08 The Dangers of Over-Emphasizing Tools in Lean Deployments

0:23:15  Why People like Tools

0:24:40 The Impact of Tools on Lean Implementation

0:26:48 The Benefits of Lean Initiatives in the Workplace

0:28:57 The Importance of Lean Principles in Business Culture

0: 29:30  The Shift that’s happening around the culture of business


0:34:53 The Benefits of Building a Resilient Team





  • Using tools are good techniques to foster the work in the organization, however, it should not be the main principle in development. 
  • Sometimes, less automation is more and the organization should know that.
  • Technology has enabled work but it’s not the “work”.
  • The work comes first, literally the important task, and then technology can be added.
  • Managers should think beyond technology.
  • The important factor behind using a tool should be the intent that the company has toward the outcome
  • Tools are meant to teach people a new way of thinking and coming up with a solution
  • Slowing down is not fashionable, particularly in corporate America
  • Lean approach could be started for a purpose and a desire to change something from activity-based to a change in culture 
  • In an organization where it uses Lean Approaches, as a result, the leadership approaches and the operation approaches would merge. 


Memorable Quotes From Martina Kuhlmeye

  • “Sometimes, less automation is more and the organization should know that” 

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