John Shook is chairman and CEO of the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), a non-profit research and education organization in Cambridge Massachusetts, dedicated to making things better through advancing lean thinking and practice. Shook also serves as chairman of the Lean Global Network, a consortium of like-minded institutes around the world committed to helping their nations and regions.
Shook is an industrial anthropologist who began learning about lean production and management while working for Toyota for over 10 years in Japan and the U.S., helping it transfer production, engineering, and management systems from Japan to NUMMI, the GM-Toyota joint venture, and subsequently to other operations around the world.
While at Toyota’s headquarters, he became the company’s first American kacho (manager) in Japan. In the U.S., Shook joined Toyota’s North American engineering, research and development center in Ann Arbor, MI, as general manager of administration and planning. His last position with Toyota was as the senior American manager to manage the startup of the Toyota Production System Support Center which assists organizations to adopt and adapt the Toyota’s production and management systems.
Following his experience with Toyota, Shook joined the University of Michigan as a faculty member of the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering and Director of the Japan Technology Management Program. Prior to joining LEI in 2010, Shook worked as an independent consultant to support organizations and individuals learn and transform themselves through lean thinking and practice.
Shook is the author of Managing to Learn and co-author of Learning to See and Kaizen Express. His article “How to Change a Culture: Lessons from NUMMI“; Sloan Management Review, January 2010, won that journal’s Beckhard Memorial Prize for outstanding article in the field of organizational development. A sought-after conference keynoter, Shook has been interviewed on lean management by National Public Radio, Bloomberg News, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, the Atlantic, Fortune, and numerous trade publications. Shook is a multiple Shingo Prize winner and lifetime member of the Shingo Academy, a 2011 inductee to the Industry Week Manufacturing Hall of Fame, and 2-13 inductee to the Hall of Fame of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence.