Lean Acres: A Tale of Strategic Innovation and Improvement in a Farm-iliar Setting

Lean Acres: A Tale of Strategic Innovation and Improvement in a Farm-iliar Setting
Genres: Continuous Improvement, Lean Six Sigma
Tag: OpEx Society Selection
Publisher: ASQ Quality Press
Publication Year: 2011
ISBN: 9780873898096

Change can be hard. It is often difficult to conceive performing tasks in a different order, in a different place, at a different time, or in a different manner altogether. And this is only for the individual. When we talk about organizational change the difficulty increases exponentially with each individual that is added to the equation. Regardless of organizational improvement methodology (Lean, Six Sigma, ISO, Balanced Scorecard) as programs they are difficult to implement; as disciplines they are difficult to understand. This book uses as its basis a fable the story is not untrue, but it is not fact either. It is a story in which the group dynamics are real, the problems are valid, and the solutions legitimate. It asks you to consider a complex environment with multiple classes interacting between functional units with requirements that are perceived as exclusive and unique, and personalities that reinforce presumed boundaries. It asks you to follow along as all these individuals work together using the basics of four quality methodologies (Lean, Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints, and Business Process Reengineering) to address the problems they face, discover solutions together, and move forward in their continuous performance improvement journey.

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About the Book


“Efficiency has always been in fashion. Whether it is running a household or a multi-million dollar company, everyone is interested in the bottom line. The bottom line for some can be made better by hiring an outside consultant to help them trim fat from their budgets and come up with creative ways to save money. Enter Jim Bowie…he’s written a book just for you (and for me, too) explaining it all in normal words.”
“The analogies that he was able to make…make the ideas more accessible, more human.”

Excerpts from Lean Acres article by Dominique Agnew of The Monocacy Monocle
October 21, 2011

Excerpt from Lean Acres Review in the Lean Management Journal:

I think Lean Acres should be a must-read for every first-year student of industrial and systems engineering and given by every continuous improvement leader to those who are about to be influenced by the programme – so that they can rapidly get “on-board” and know the nature and value of the journey of which they are going to be a part.
And as is on the farm, so is in real life – beware the jackass, or you may find yourself in the “Boo-Chair”.

Joe Paris, Xonitek
Lean Management Journal
Issue 9, Volume 2 | November 2012 | leanmj.com

From the Author

Writing Lean Acres was a privilege and an honor, and was in no way a small undertaking.  A vast majority of books and training on the market today teach Strategy and Continuous Performance Improvement (Balanced Scorecard, StrateTree, Lean, Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints, and Business Process Reengineering) methods and tools from a static, academic perspective.  The theory is important, but the gains are in practical (and relevant) application.  I wanted to give the world a resource, an instruction manual and a guide, that marries the academic and the practical and continues one step further.  I wanted to include (and expose) the sophistication introduced by stakeholder management, real stakeholder management, and to emphasize the range of personalities, emotions, and struggles we encounter in all of our organizations every day.

Each and every day throughout the crafting of this work, I recalled experiences and feelings and wove them into the story.  I would sit down in my office with the curtains drawn, look beyond my computer monitors, and dream with my eyes open.  I could see the farm, the animals, the problems, the possibilities…and when I had lived through a chapter, I came back and wrote down everything I heard, smelled, tasted, felt, and saw.  By observing the tale, I went beyond myself and endured the chaos that an even mixture of reality and imagination can muster.  This mitigated the schizophrenia that crept up now and again while giving voice and credence to over a dozen characters of different species.

But it was fun, and I hope to go back there someday.  Lean Acres is more than a book to me.  It is a part of me, and my sincerest wish is that the lessons, the guidance, and most of all the story become a part of you too.
Until we meet again, may God bless you and yours.  – Jim Bowie

About the Author

As Johnny Cash so eloquently said, “I’ve been everywhere, man.” I’ve worked in practically every industry, was a collegiate rugby national champion, served as a soldier & an airborne infantry officer in the Army, & am now a trusted advisor to executive leadership in the government, commercial, & non-profit sectors. I’ve washed dishes & led men in battle. I’ve driven thirty-thousand dollar freight trucks & improvement efforts totaling in the billions. To top it all off I was raised by a father in a rock band. I am a performance improvement fanatic, a radical, & I’ve helped people taste the nectar of victory around the globe. With my book “Lean Acres”, I’m inspiring the world with a passion for success.


Jim Bowie (aka “Buckaroo Banzai”) is a Strategic Performance Improvement Expert & the President of Roxtar™ Consulting. He has more than 20 years of experience leading improvement efforts in diverse environments & industries around the world. Jim is a former United States Army Infantry Officer & an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, a consultant, author, & professional speaker, holds a Master of Business Administration, is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Statistics, is a Kaplan-Norton Balanced Scorecard Certified Practitioner, a Certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt (including ASQ Certified Six Sigma Black Belt), an ASQ Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence, a Certified Lean Master, a Certified Project Management Professional, an ISO 9001:2008 Lead Auditor, & a certified facilitator. Mr. Bowie was selected to serve as a member of the Board of Examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. His educational track has included Salisbury University, Villanova University, University of Tennessee, Yale School of Management, Auburn University, Georgia Tech, & Texas A&M.

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