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LSS 009 | Steve Kane – What is Lean Leadership?

steveJoining me for episode 9 of the LSS Academy podcast is Steve Kane, the VP of Operations at Specialty Silicone Fabricators in Paso Robles, California.

SSF is a manufacturer of precision silicone components for the medical device industry, providing a full range of processing: molding, extrusion, sheeting, and dipping.

SSF’s lean efforts over the past decade have transformed the company and enable it to compete globally from facilities in California and Michigan.

The theme of this episode is Lean Leadership.  I have met many different business leaders over the years and Steve is definitely one of the best.  He is an excellent communicator and knows the best way to solve problems is to head directly to the gemba, or the place the work is done.

To play the podcast please press the play button at the top of this post.  You can also download a MP3 version of the podcast here.

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • How SSF got started with their lean journey
  • What a Lean Thinking Vice President of Operations does on a day to day basis
  • What the main characteristics of a lean leader are
  • Steve’s advice for the person who doesn’t have top level management commitment
  • Steve’s advice for the leader or manager who is just starting out on their continuous improvement journey

Podcast Resources:

SSF Morning Meeting Video

Here’s the first video from the SSF Gemba Live episode.

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What Do You Think?

What do you think of Steve’s advice?  What do you think the main characteristics of a lean leader are?  And what advice do you have for those who don’t have management support or may just be starting out on their continuous improvement journey?


  1. Avery Cormack says:

    Excellent podcast! I think the most significant characteristic of a strong leader is the willingness to get down and dirty with front line employees. This may mean working on a Kaizen Event or possibly helping a front office worker solve a real problem. THe leaders that “keep their distance” rarely ever inspire others.

  2. DJ Duarte says:

    Great podcast! The value of having Steve Kane sharing his comments resonates across every company, department and team. Real. Relevant. Passionate! Thanks.

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