Paul – I just wanted to say a massive thank you for giving us one of the best weeks of our lives – we’re all agreed that this is by far the best business and cultural trip anyone could take anywhere in the world so thanks so much for taking the time for organising it for us and making it so interesting, interactive and memorable!! Your passion for Japan is infectious and your love for the people and the country is inspirational. This will have a huge positive knock on effect to our businesses and the communities we work in so thanks for being the catalyst for such positive change! You and your family are always welcome at our home when you visit Ireland and we will hopefully see you soon on our next lean adventure! Thanks so much for everything!
Can you reply back to me with a simple number? How much has your life changed in the way you look at things and do things since Japan?
80% it was a life changing trip it has me thinking on actions I would have previously looked over and listing more then speaking. Hansai on my actions and others and most of all just a constant reminder of there beautiful culture we got to witness and study. now pursue at home ruthlessly.it’s what I want I want to be
like the Japanese truly fell in love with Japan and there deep respect for every aspect of life
This trip gave me so much assurance that I’ve been going the right direction and gave me the confidence and motivation to keep things going, small steps at the time no matter what people say around me. And also gave me that huge reminder that my team has all the power to make things better just by listening to them
and taking action.
There has already been a couple of small improvements goin on at work the past 2 weeks which has made me super excited and gave me back my motivation at work which was kind of struggling the
last 3 months.
Excellent question(s)! I have been evaluating this deeply overnight, and I feel Adam has landed on a
great method of evaluation – splitting the two questions in your ask into answers addressing each of the two questions: The way I look at things 75%, and the way I presently do things 33%, with the commitment to bridging the difference up to 100%. I would say it was a profound learning experience.
Way I look at things = 75%
Way I do things = 25%
Determination to bridge the difference between the two = 100%
60%. Side note, for me that is mind blowing.
Ryan – 40%…low because like Adam seeing vs. doing is different. 40 is my average.
Biggest and quickest changes for me is fixing my failure as a leader to set a vision. So much had failed before because I had not articulated any clear vision to march toward. I asked my people to do things without the context of “why” or “to what end” so they were just empty actions. Vision now is all around people
80% Sensitivity to surroundings and needs of people around me and especially the customer. Understanding
that we are just being meiwaku all the time.
In short, My life as changed 90% or more since Japan. I have slowed down! I am focused on “how can I change my circle of influence for the next 100 years, for the better?” I have moved my desk from the open office to the middle of the production lines. I am no longer the “easy button” for my team. Now, I ask some of the hardest questions so my team can develop and grow. I am working with the production leads to change things for the better where the work is being done. (Kaizen, Gemba).
The Japan trip has made me stop, focus and actually develop my people. Before couldn’t develop my team because I was trying to grow to fast and quickly become impatient, everyday. At the same time my team wasn’t taking any ownership because I was owning all the problems and trying to fix it all. Since I slowed down, I have found that my team is the most talented team ever and it blows me away, every day.
The trip has brought me great peace, which is priceless!
Because of the changes at work, my home life has improved! I can be a better husband and father due to not being exhausted from work!
I’m 30% after japan. But that is from the bar being already raised by 40 % from watching lean videos and reading your books so overall 70%.
I thought before the trip we would come back with a lot of ideas we could copy and paste to our factory but this did not really happen. What we have brought back is the culture and now we are training our staff and working on our company’s culture.
So, overall, I think we went to japan to steal a heap of fish but instead we actually got taught how to fish for ourselves.
Time will tell 🙂 I have made some MASSIVE changes due to this trip. Changes that we were already on the tipping point of making and this trip pushed me over the edge. I ditched overburden and switched to a stop culture. I’m working with the crew every day to make our focus and key indicators used to measure progress and betterment instead of product and output.
My life will have 100% changed soon…. But right now I’m in the chrysalis. I’m making the painful growth to get there.
My life has changed about 80% however I have noticed a 100% change in the way I look at things since the trip.
The trip actually broke a lot of personal barriers I have and a lot of my learnings were not about manufacturing at all but about mindset and personal traits and solidifying beliefs I have had for a long time.
I have learned always to be open-minded about suggestions, helping others and being helped by others, and the journey of constant improvement.
I also learned a lot by observing the way you conduct yourself day to day Paul, leading into the trip I wasn’t sold on this Paul Akers guy after only seeing videos of you, however, after meeting you and observing how you hold your own I definitely see you as an inspiration and look up to you as I really respect your passion, drive and your vision.
I’m also still learning lessons from the information presented on the trip and taught to us by the Japanese people every day.
I couldn’t agree more with Allan’s taught us how to fish analogy, perfectly sums it up!
A real credit to what you and Mami are doing, I’m forever indebted to you both, I also feel a responsibility to share the knowledge to our families and communities so again Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
My life changed ~ 80%
– I am totally engaged in our transformation and I am totally a No excuse man
– I focus more on people and I understood deeper the concept of pull and motivation
-respect each other got a new place in my mind.
2SLean has changed my life a lot even before coming to Japan (25%). Which even just 5% is a high rating when considering all of Life imo. The 2SL books are of the few books that have had a profound impact on how I live my life day to day. The Trip to Japan just enhanced it even more.
To list a few of the many ways it has changed my life:
– I now realize almost Everything I do during the day is a process and can be improved.
– I cannot walk by trash or ignore problems anymore as easily. I have to STOP and go upstream and fix the problem at the source to prevent it from happening again.
– my communication has improved and I make sure I teach the why and how instead of just doing it myself without communicating.
– everything I now do is looked through a “value-added” lens to see if it is even necessary. Does it bring value to my team members or our customers?
The experience promotes a immediate behavioral change of ~20%, while at the same time it shows me I must improve the others 80% along the way. It simply made me crazy enough to believe that I can change the
I am 25% more motivated since I was already 75% motivated before the trip (Thanx to Paul’s audio books). I would say the visit took me to the level of “fine-tuning”.
My number would be 50%. I also am much more aware of talking volume, I say “when I was in Japan I learned…” at least once a day if not more.
I have improved my ability to see the good in each improvement by 80%. The small benefits. I am more aware of wasteful activities by 30%.
Mami & Paul are fantastic. Their level of knowledge, planning, and passion is amazing. This tour of Japan changes how I see my personal and professional life. Japan’s culture made me see that there are no excuses to be successful; I Also Learned that the best way to get to the highest level of excellence is thru continuous
improvement and this intense process approach as a way of life.
We can always start from nothing and become the best! The mind of people is potent and can change the world.
Being in Japan at the plant tour has been a life-changing experience in so many ways.
The passion Paul put into every little detail was breathtaking; the careful details that Mami took care of were extraordinary.
My Life changed after seeing all these crazy details attended to with passion and excellence, my eyes were literally opened to new ways of doing things. First to focus on the people rather than results, and results will come if you do it this way. My life changed because we got to see Japanese culture from the beginning,
from interacting with kids at the schools, seeing the history of Toyota at the Techno Museum and all the other ways we experienced Japanese excellence in their day-to-day work. In Japan the don’t complicate processes rather they always keep improving everything!
My life has changed by 80% In the last weeks. I had many approaches and ideas before how to do what I do. But In many ways, I hesitated, and I was not self-confident enough to follow my beliefs. I let the people around me dictate too much of how things are done.
Since my life-changing trip with you guys I totally broke through. I am following my passion, I spend a lot of time to develop my team, be a role model, I animate, I motivate, I guess I inspire in some way. Our CEO asked me to come to his office last week and told me that he had goose bumps after me talking to senior management team about kaizen and Gemba. We spent another 3 hours together this week and he asked for my opinion on management style of senior management and how to improve. How to get people onboarded and departing towards the same goal.
I has been an amazing journey and there is a lot more to come.
We introduced the morning meeting in my team, everyday, we practice to be grateful during our physical exercises. It is heart warning what team members tell others, how kind and humble they are. We start of everyday with an amazing flow and attitude. No excuses! No limits!
I will keep you guys updated, I have just been super busy breaking out of old habits and dictated structures!
I am extremely grateful I had the opportunity to be on this trip with you Paul and Mami and each one of you! ❤️
I will print out the certificate with our picture and frame it!
Hope to meet you guys soon!
A superbly run Lean trip delivering deep insights into Toyota and its key suppliers. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity not to be missed.
Most life-changing trip I have ever taken. I spent 60k on a university degree that I’m still paying off. This left the degree for dead. The combination of practical learning, Paul’s combined learnings and passion, Mami san’s extremely hard work and the Japanese wisdom provided by various Sensai’s made this a trip of a lifetime. A once in a lifetime opportunity.
New South Wales, Australia
Blown away by the experience. Changed my life and can’t wait to send more people so that their lives can be changed as well.
Team 30 participant
Personal life changing experience.
Lean Manufacturing Manager
Alberta Oil Tool
This is my 5th study mission and I have brought more than 50 people on the mission. I have been very fortunate to meet Paul Akers and Mami san to show me Japan through the lens of the Japan Study Mission.
Nekon Pty Ltd
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Paul, thank you for changing MY life by providing me the thought process to change OTHER people’s lives.
VP eCommerce & Product Management
ABR Wholesalers, Inc.
Rochester, NY, USA
This trip delivers! I wanted a Gemba into the philosophy and culture that could support lean. I did not want to let my people down by being another failed lean project and I believe I now have the support needed for a successful transformation. Education plus experience plus exposure to other lean thinkers is priceless!
San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks
San Francisco, CA, USA
I am near speechless at the conclusion of my JSM. The entire trip was packed with learning and exposure to amazing and new things. Paul’s commitment to constant improvement is not only evident in the quality of this trip but happens directly in front of you. He provides an amazing and dynamic example of exactly those things which this trip is meant to convey. – Thank you, Paul and Mami San!
San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks
San Francisco, CA, USA
An amazing experience that immersed me in the culture of Japan, its people as well as a wide range of businesses. These visits give great insight into TPS and lean and are fantastic for visual learners. An incredible experience with the amazing Paul & Mami san. Would recommend to anyone interested in LEAN and wanting to improve their business and life.
Cambridge, Tasmania, Australia
The second time was just as impactful as the first. The learning to be had is infinite. The learning from Paul, Japanese culture, coworkers and tour companions created so many impactful moments and thoughts. I’ll be back.
VP of Operations
Orem, Utah, USA
Fantastic, inspiring experience overall! My favorite was really seeing the variety and contrasts of approaches to seeing the application of the same principles. I loved the reflections on the bus and hearing everyone’s takeaways. At the very top was Daihatsu and Lexus and seeing high quality at opposite ends of the price range. Very different from the low cost means cheap from an American perspective. The cultural details that were consistently demonstrated and pointed out throughout every day, mottainai and omote Nashi, kept my mind focused and aware long enough to make a lasting difference. My brain can’t possibly shrink all the way back. The addition of Ken Mogi was a wonderful surprise but only because it was couched in an overall amazing week. Really, if I were to remove anything other than the TOTO tour, it would diminish the overall experience. It was a particularly meaningful life experience. Thank you for this gift! I promise to repay it by making a bigger difference in the lives of those I have an opportunity to influence for good.
Orem, UT, USA
A perfectly choreographed dance through a lean journey.
Liquid Coatings Manager
Powder Coatings of Utah
Once again Paul Akers delivers a Michelin 3 star experience which means it was exceptional and worth a special journey as it can be life changing if you are looking to change and discover what it takes to create a culture that is continually progressing, because therein lies joy.
Salt Lake City, UT
Super high quality, high value trip. It was four packed days of activity the helped me to see lean, live lean and think lean. Challenging at times, consistently brilliant and absolutely wire to wire with consent. The fact that Paul doesn’t charge more for this is a testament to his dedication to teaching and sharing these concepts.
St. Louis, MO
The Japan study mission is amazing! What a great opportunity to see how the Japanese culture has influenced the world of manufacturing. Any person with an interest in further understanding the Toyota Production System should make a Japan trip. I am so greatful for Paul and Mami-san’s preparation and wide variety of experiences they put together. Non stop learning for 4 days straight!!!!
Saratoga Springs, Utah
I have been on Japan study trips. I expected this trip to be similar but it wasn’t. This trip was well thought out and gave me a better understanding of the Japanese culture and way of thinking. This trip helped me understand the TPS better and how to apply it.
Highly recommended, a ton to take in. Impossible not to walk away impressed and inspired.
St. Louis, MO
I have traveled all over the world and lived in foreign countries. I also have run my own business for the past 15 years. In just 3 days Paul Akers gave me and my team one of the most educational and informative experiences that I could have ever imagined. I came away from our study mission with a sense of energy and determination that came from a deep dive into an understanding of the culture of lean. There were so many opportunities to see ideas and implementation of those ideas in real time that I came away from the experience with a sense that I want all of this to be a part of my life. Finally, I saw how lean can impact me, my wife, my children and my business in a way that can bring great benefits…amazing benefits to everything. Life changing to be in this group for these few days. Thank you Paul Akers for bringing so much of your knowledge, wisdom and energy to our lives.
CEO and Founder
This experience has been as impactful. To me as the first time I saw a world-class lean manufacturer 15 years ago. That first visit inspired me to completely change everything about my life and led to 15 years of study and experimentation. This study tour will do the same for the next 15 years of my life.
VP of Operations
My humble take away is Just get started and lead by example.
Premium Fresh Tasmania
Forth, Tasmania, Austraila
The Japan study mission is a life changing experience. The intensity and passion Paul shares is contagious, not to mention the access to places you will not have on a trip to Japan. Seeing up close and personal in the schools, manufacturing facilities and Toyota plant will change your perspective on lean as a way a life. The only way of life! Mattonai !!(did I spell it correctly?! Got too excited thinking on how the United States of America must make changes and now hopeful we can with people like Paul sharing the wisdom!)
Chief Operating Officer
Paul’s tour gives you the opportunity to see and feel Lean front and centre an amazing opportunity for anyone who wants to improve their lives and eliminate waste by implementing lean principles.
National Processing Manager
Cambridge, Tasmania, Austraila
One week with Paul Akers guiding you through lean thinking Japanese style is equivalent to years of book study on lean. Paul turns the complexities and intricacies of lean into the simplicity and elegance it is meant to be. It starts at the work with the people doing the work. Paul takes you right to the gemba… to watch and learn first hand, to experience the respect, quality, humility and grace of work performed in a lean culture by people who value people, quality, and work done with a spirit of joy and precision.
Lean Executive Director
The Japan Study Mission provides a full immersion into the culture of Japan – you have to see it to believe it. The trip fits in a lot and they are very diverse experiences from production plants to schools. The experience could be overwhelming, however Paul has condensed his 17 years of learnings into a simple format to learn and apply to your life and business immediately. Coming together with like-minded individuals from around the world as a part of a small team is also very powerful during the trip and as an ongoing support network. This is a very unique experience not to be missed!
Marketing Manager & Process Engineering
Ballymoney, Antrim, UK
Paul’s lean study mission, for those who want to learn and improve and to be in position to help others, is a fantastic opportunity to hear from successful leaders and implementers of lean principles and to personally witness major manufacturing and operational examples of lean and quality in place.
Nekon Pty Ltd
Sandy Bay, Tasmania, Austraila
I have visited Japan twice on Paul Akers “Banish Slopiness” tours and they both have been amazing experiences. If you are looking to take your people and your business to the next level, don’t hesitate, its worth every penny! The presenters are all top professionals and the site and company visits give you the chance to see what lean can really be. You’ll leave Japan saying to yourself “I want that”.
The Closet Doctor
Paul and Mami really know how to pack in a lot of exciting tours and great information in 3 days! What an amazing experience!
The Closet Doctor
As Paul says big ears, big eyes, and watch ever minutes of your time on the details. Steve and I did go to Tokyo and we would walk 13 miles a day or so for 3 days. We were pointing lean ideas out all over the city. Things I have never seen in the US. Japanese take pride in their country, in both cities, no trash anywhere, very courteous.
The Japan study mission is for people who are serious about lean. It is immersive and intense in the best way possible. The trip shows you how a cultural shift at a deep level can provide you with the tools for a successful business, career, or life. There are so many eye opening and positive experiences on this trip that shows the profound wisdom in Japanese culture. My life will never be the same!!!
Stop waiting and making excuses and get to Japan. It will change your life. I had spoke to several people beforehand that had been on the trip and anticipated an awesome experience. What I have been apart of this week will not only change my life moving forward but also all those I encounter from here on out. Thanks so much to Paul, his team that made it all happen and to the team I was a part of.
Hunter Trim & Cabinets Inc.
Fort Worth, TX
Life-changing experience. It will alter how you see your life and your work!
Guilderland Center, NY
If you are looking for the most amazing business learning experience, the Japan Study Group is a must. Three days completely change my vision on how to identify waste and deficiencies in our company. This is an experience like no other. It’s not what you will see, but how Paul will help you see it. Paul did an amazing job at demonstrating how really simple lean is. The Japan experience is great, however the Japan experience with an amazing leader is off the charts.
Chief Executive Officer
The study tour to Japan with Paul is truly transformative. You will recalibrate your thinking and never look at your company, your country or yourself the same way again. Jam packed, each and every minute, with value added tours, ideas and information. And, the new friends I made on the tour and the learning we shared with each other was fantastic. Also, a note to Paul. I hate to say this because I may want to go back to Japan on another tour with you some day, but I looked at some other groups that make Lean study trips to Japan and their prices are much higher. You definitely provide a great value for the cost. You could raise the price you charge and still give a great value. If you do raise your price, I want a discount on my next tour with you! Ha!
If you don’t go, you won’t know! The Japan Study Mission was truly an experience of a lifetime. It defines Going to the Gemba in a capacity that can only be understood by using your big eyes and big ears. This trip is not for the dabblers, it’s for the bravest, thirsty few. Keeping up with Paul and his passion for showing lean will keep you on your toes! Grateful and appreciative of my Lean learning experience from the man himself!
Walters & Wolf
Las Vegas, NV
Aspiring Lean Zealot
To put into words of what the study mission to Japan with Paul has meant for me. I went to Japan with the intention to learn my next evaluation in the lean process but I got so much more from the experience. The understanding of why the Japanese follow lean and also on so many levels. The experience can’t be gained from a book or a seminar it is truly life changing. You will definitely come away totally exhausted, eager to go home and get started, full of questions and answers but for me I came home with validation and a sense friendship.
Elphinstone Pty Ltd
The Japan Lean Study Mission tour was amazing and incredibly rich with learnings that I would not have gotten elsewhere. It totally exceeded my expectations since every second of the tour we learnt something either directly from Paul, an invited speaker, a plant tour, eating out or even just driving and walking around Japan to see how seemingly Japan’s society operates and integrates. Seeing how much attention to quality (details) is given and the amount of respect is planted into each human being in Japan, almost since they were born, just totally transformed my mind and views about Lean. On this tour I truly learnt what Lean really is about and received new inspirations and ambitions to transform other people around me. I can’t say how thankful I am to just being able to spend time with an amazing and humble person like Paul and learn everything I can from him related to lean and health.
Paul, I wanted to thank you for this amazing, incredible “Lean Tour” (not “Tour about Lean”!). Mamie and you did a fantastic job for putting everything together. The all tour was seamless, intense, very educative, mind blowing…..The group was great (everybody humble), everyone could share their challenges, experiences and eventually helping each other. Everywhere we went to, there was something to take. During this trip I collected so much information and have seen so many different processes.I can tell you, I came back to the U.S with a different way to look at what is around me. Of course, I will spend my energy on focusing to improve Snapcab. As you know, we already have a great leadership with Glenn, Joe, Caleb and everybody around. But it is still a daily challenge for continuous improvement and creativity. With all the visits and your teaching, I have a lot more tools to work with. Also, you inspired me to make changes (kaizen) in my community, school, neighborhood …(I already started with my wife and my 2 girls). Many times during the tour you said “Japan is all about QUALITY”, I agree. But I also believe, to get to their level of quality (of life and products), we have to start by respecting each other better, respected the environment better, respected the material better….
Thanks again Paul for mentored (mentoring) this “life changing tour”
My experience on the Japan Study Mission with Paul Akers was mind blowing. It raised my level of awareness of Lean to a whole new level. I would strongly recommend this trip to anyone wanting to take their business to the next level. I came back with lots of practical tips that I was able to implement very quickly and we have already seen dramatic results.
Seating Matters Ltd.
Amazing experience! The opportunity to visit Japan with Paul was so much more than what I was expecting. A great opportunity to see Lean at its finest and experience the culture that makes it all possible, this tour gave me a whole new outlook on what is possible. A true life changing experience.
The Closet Doctor
This is no thematic tour about Lean. It is a LEAN Tour. Every single second of it. Get ready to experience Lean far beyond manufacturing and embark in a journey that will change your life.
This was by far the best lean (study group) tour or any tour for that matter that I have ever been on! It was not only educational but through actual live examples and constant dialog, it challenged ideas and beliefs that I have grown comfortable with stimulating me to change my opinion and understanding of many lean concepts. Awesome, well organized and fast paced trip. The content throughout the experience was of the highest caliber and the first hand explanation by actual high level Lean implementers made it credible and valuable! No BS here, all “rubber meets the road” and solid practice. I loved it and would highly recommend it to anyone serious about improving their organization and life as well!
My lean trip to Japan was life changing.
It has shown me how to better myself as a father, Husband and as a business man.
Through my experience I now will view people and situations differently in order to make the world a better place.
Hill Street Grocer
Paul’s trip is an educational powerhouse of learning experience that will pay dividends the rest of my life. It opened my eyes to opportunities within my business that were right under my nose the whole time I just had to view them through a different vision.
Hardware Sales Inc.
It is pretty simple. I think it was the best money I’ve ever spent on our business. And I’ve got a million dollars of equipment, so it isn’t like I haven’t invested in our business. I think that trip will be paying itself forward for years.
Ted Pancoast Woodworking
The opportunity to learn from Paul Akers is it itself life changing add to this 2 Toyota master instructors and visiting Toyota and Toyota tier 2 suppliers and the whole experience becomes invaluable, an absolute must do experience.
Simply put, these three days with Paul in Japan, visiting world class companies, learning from lean masters and gleaning insight from Paul along the way, has transformed my thinking. I, and our company will never be the same.
Goba Sports Group/Dongguan Shenshui Fitness Equipment
Whilst our (Hill Street Grocer) is still in the infant stages of our lean journey, the Japan Study Mission afforded us the chance to really absorb ourselves. Paul has been(and still is) very inspiring. The opportunities and experiences had are second to none. I can’t recommend this tour enough. You will never look at another process without attempting to make it more Lean.
Hill Street Grocer
I’ve been following Paul Akers for 10 years, but had never previously met him in person. What I experienced during this trip validated my intuition. Paul is a true lean leader with an unquenching thirst for learning, improving, and sharing. This experience was worth every penny! I plan to send team members, executives, and family members.
Trinchero Family Estates Winery