Chasing the Rabbit: How Market Leaders Outdistance the Competition and How Great Companies Can Catch Up and Win, Foreword by Clay Christensen

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Press: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (September 29, 2008)
Publication Date:2008-9
Author Name:Steven Spear


Winner of the Shingo Prize for Research and Professional Publication, 2009  How can companies perform so well that their industry counterparts are competitors in name only? Although they operate in the same industry, serve the same market, and even use the same suppliers, these “rabbits” lead the race and, more importantly, continually widen their lead. 
In Chasing the Rabbit, Steven J.
Spear describes what sets high-velocity, market-leading organizations apart and explains how you can lead the pack in your industry.
Spear examines the internal operations of dominant organizations, including Toyota, Alcoa, Pratt & Whitney, the US Navy's Nuclear Power Program, and top-tier teaching hospitals--organizations operating in vastly differing industries, but which share one thing in common: the skillful management of complex internal systems that generates constant, almost automatic self-improvement at rates faster, durations longer, and breadths wider than anyone else musters.
As a result, each enjoys a level of profitability, quality, efficiency, reliability, and agility unmatched by rivals.
Chasing the Rabbit shows how to: Build a system of “dynamic discovery” designed to reveal operational problems and weaknesses Attack and solve problems at the time and in the place where they occur, converting weaknesses into strengths Disseminate knowledge gained from solving local problems throughout the company as a whole Create managers invested in the process of continual innovation Whatever kind of company you operate--from technology to finance to healthcare--mastery of these four key capabilities will put you on the fast track to operational excellence, where you will generate faster, better results using less capital and fewer resources.
Apply the lessons of Steven J.
Spear's and leave the competition in the dust.

About the Author

Steven J. 
Spear, four-time winner of the Shingo Prize and recipient of the McKinsey Award, is a senior lecturer at MIT and former assistant professor at Harvard.
A senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, he is the author of numerous articles appearing in academic and trade publications, including the Harvard Business Review and The New York Times.


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Comment List (Total:13)

  •     While I appreciate the author delineated the examples of great organization in first person point of view, I thought some of the examples are greatly simplified.
  •     Especially useful for the leader who may not yet realize how important bringing "not knowing" and "failure" to the forefront are to his or her success and that of the entire organization.Another new book on business performance? Steven Spear, a rare "dirt under the fingernails" process thinker with Harvard academic credentials has spent enough time on Toyota and US Big 3 assembly lines to condense succinctly the differences. His concise summary of performance improvement builds upon 4 simple capabilities: 1)specify design to capture existing knowledge and force the process to reveal more knowledge through forcing and following problems, 2) "swarming and solving" problems, 3) spreading learnings rapidly throughout the organization and 4) leadership's role in driving points 1) to 3).For the thousands of lean and six sigma practicioners who have suffered the lack of leadership understanding that can stall or even insure failure of lean six sigma business performance efforts, this book offers a refreshing view of the important role of executive leadership, without dwelling on methodology.Although they make for a long read, the health care examples after page 323! are very close to each of our hearts. If you get a chance to see Steve present, be prepared for many sleepless nights, as he goes deeper into his examples, burning them into your memory banks.For organizations looking to succeed in an ever more competitive world, the message Mr. Spear communicates is clear: make certain leaders learn and drive the learning process. (which can only happen in the blameless search for FAILURE or NOT KNOWING)
  •     Steven Spear delivers awesome read.
  •     amazing book, for those who want to learn and master process improvement. this book opened my eyes and I apply lesions learned to every aspect of my work life.
  •     Dr. Spear's Chasing The Rabbit will be a definate recommendation for my clients who are at an intermediate point in their Lean journey. I bought three copies.
  •     I've been in the process improvement field for nearly 20 years. Having moved from process improvement in manufacturing to IT & software to services.
  •     I have just ordered my 8th copy of this book, the original was for me, and the other 7 for co-workers.
  •     Steven Spear has probably contributed singly more than anyone to the emergence of "lean management" from the field fo lean manufacturing and lean production. Three of his seminal contributions have been around different angles-of-view. In Toyota's DNA he has focused on the level of detailed specification of the operatiosn processes, specifying outputs, pathways, connections and activities. Taking a different tack, he has opened our eyes to the double-loop learning system at the core of Toyota's success in his Learning to Lead at Toyota paper. Finally, his Healthcare article provides a blueprint of how Toyota-like problem solving can be applied in a completely different field.In this breakthrough book, Spear brings these three different insights together and blends them into the most powerful and elegant buisness theory yet to come out of the lean field (imagine Good to Gtreat with substance). This is a landmark book because it finally creates a bridge from lean mavens to business thinkers - and it offers a splendid opportunity to talk to CEOs about HOW to change their operations system in order to improve both strategy and execution.I've already read the book twice, and have immediately started applying the core framework to my own work. I have to confess also stealing some detailed images and expressions to try to sound clever in public speaking. The description of the worker who knows he's going to fail today, because he's failed yesterday and the system will ensure that he fails tomorrow as opposed to the worker going to work with the possibility of success every day is priceless. I've used it to great effect at my boy's school to explain to a teacher that giving every day kids opportunities for success and reward was more productive than continuously pointing out their defficiencies against a list of 32 criteria (there's no way you can't get at least one wrong in the course of the day).Read it! Offer it to your boss and your staff. Require your consultants to have read it carefully. This is one of these rare frame changing book that, with some luck, could also become a game changer in the way senior executives see their role, their mission and their organizations.
  •     I have to say, this guy did his homework. There are a lot of great takeaways from this book.Unfortunately,I'm really tired of reading management books like this.
  •     I found Chasing the Rabbit is very insightful about why Toyota has been so successful. It fills in the blanks on why so many people have tried and failed at creating a Lean...
  •     This book is spot on for business survival today in a very competitive marketplace. It's based on the timeless principles of W. Edwards Deming and the Toyota Production System.
  •     Steve's in-depth look at how high velocity organizations do what they do, takes the mystery out of why Toyota and others outdistance their competitors. It gives anyone interested the critical skills required to get started today in order to create sustainable change. His hands on experience and love of story telling weave together the technical and human aspects of the hard work of defining and continuously refining our work.With the 4 capabilities defined the leader is left with the challenge of creating an environment where everyone can learn from mistakes, be problem solvers and challenge the status quo. No small feat. Like anything we want to learn or habit we want to change it means we have to practice. And practice is a cycle of act/fail/learn/adjust/act. It is also takes time and patience. In our western business culture a problem is seen as failure and patience for the long term pay off is not the norm.Steve's examples illustrate that we need an attitude/mindset adjustment top to bottom. We need to think and behave differently. When we lead as learners and mentors we create emotional safety. With emotional safety everyone participates in seeing problems or breakdowns as an opportunity. With that possibilities and creativity emerge. Everyone benefits from being part of this continuous cycle of practicing. Everyone is engaged.So, soak up the lessons in the book and then set a practice in place. Most importantly as a leader at any level you have to walk the talk. The standard of arrogant top down management does not align with the lessons Steve lays out in the book. A fresh humble look at "how we lead" would be a good practice to start.
  •     I ordered 20 copies of this book to hand out to our senior executives at my place of employment. The author, Steven Spear writes about lean processes and workflow efficiencies...

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