Welcome to The KaiZone! My name is Joel Gross and I am a husband, father of four, aspiring author, and lifelong student of Lean and Toyota Production System thinking.
Joel Gross? Never Heard of Him. . .
And for good reason! If you google “Joel Gross”, you’ll quickly find that I am not an internationally-recognized leader in anything. I’ve never been an executive, and I likely never will be if it means having to wear a suit to work. Or if it takes me away from my family.
I’m not a big fan of fancy titles or other symbols of status for that matter. So, I don’t refer to myself as a sensei, a consultant, or certainly not an expert. Instead, I try to gain any and all credibility through my character, my actions and my accomplishments. You will get the same respect from me in return.
I’ve never worked at Toyota. All that I know about the Toyota Production System I have learned from an extensive collection of books, through the accounts of the many mentors and coaches from whom I have had the great fortune of learning, countless hours of practice and from driving a Camry for four years.
I have never written a book about Lean or continuous improvement. My writing accolades are limited to two high school essay contests and two articles published on the Lean Post at the Lean Enterprise Institute:
Admittedly, I do lack many of the traditional credentials required to serve as an authority within the worlds of Lean and continuous improvement. So, you may be wondering who exactly am I, and why should you follow The KaiZone? Here are three good reasons.
3 Reasons to Subscribe to The KaiZone
- First and foremost, I am married to my junior high school sweetheart with whom I raise four beautiful children. My family has been, and will always be, my top priority, my inspiration and an endless source of opportunities to apply Lean thinking. I believe that the demands of modern life have severely depleted the amount and quality of time that we have to spend with the ones that we love. However, I also believe that by eliminating the waste from life, Lean thinking can help us to get that time back. If you struggle with the frenzy of today’s world, the posts in The KaiZone @ Home will help you to find your own personal True North.
- I am an extremely dedicated student of Lean thinking and the Toyota Production System. For more than 14 years, I have committed the whole of my career to the study and practice of the continuous improvement methodologies. For details of my professional career, please refer to my profile on LinkedIn. I will always owe a debt of extreme gratitude towards the many great mentors and coaches who have guided me on my own personal Lean journey. It is to honor those individuals acknowledged below that I share with you all my passion for the study and practice of Lean and continuous improvement. Whether you are just beginning your journey or are an experienced Lean leader, I believe that the posts in The KaiZone Way will provide you with a valuable source of learning and inspiration.
- Finally, I believe that learning should be fun, and that it’s the most fun when we all learn together. Therefore, the interactive posts in The KaiZone Community seek to create a network of passionate and thoughtful Lean learners.
To get the most of your experience, please subscribe to the blog to get each post emailed to your inbox, or consider following me on LinkedIn, Twitter or Pinterest. My only ask of you is that if you feel that you can help others to learn, please take the opportunity to share your comments, or contact me with ideas for future posts you’d like to see. And if you, yourself have learned something that you value, please share that learning with others.
For all professional inquiries, please contact me via this link or email me at email@example.com
I do not consider myself an expert on Lean or TPS thinking, and there will always be much for me to learn. However, if there is one thing of which I am sure, it’s the importance of having a good mentor. I’m extremely fortunate to be able to say that I’ve had quite a number of outstanding leaders and real Lean/TPS experts who have provided me with invaluable guidance throughout my career. I would like to formally thank those listed below for all that they have done for me:
For taking the chance on a young engineer and providing me with countless opportunities to grow:
- Dr. Tim Bassler
- Dr. Jon Gass
- Dr. Priscilla Robinson
For the years of mentorship and guidance:
- Mr. Gordon Jonas, R.I.P.
- Mr. Robert Kwortnik
- Mr. Ed Nau
- Dr. Julia O’Neill
- Mr. Robinson Rivas
For teaching me what real Lean thinking in the Toyota Way was all about:
- Mr. Matt Elson of True North Thinking
- Mr. Tom Fitzgibbons of Kaizen Hands
- Ms. Cindy Kuhlman-Voss of VOS Consulting
- Mr. Olivier Larue of YDatum
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