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Course description: 

Leading with Lean provides the basic awareness of how the Lean mentality can be incorporated into daily interactions with employees, customers, and the processes within the larger value stream to which they all contribute — far beyond a tool-based approach to achieve efficiency. Discussion includes the polar extremes of “Traditional Management” and the “Lean-Minded” leadership approaches. Topics include Voice-of-the-Customer (VOC) from the Lean leader’s point-of-view, the mentality and behaviors of the Lean leader, the Single Value Stream Mentality, and Gemba Walking.  

This is a Lean Institute exclusive that is also taught as part of the OULI LSS Green Belt training.  

General information:  

All classroom dates meet from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Registration for all classes closes one week prior to their start date. Online registration is available for most courses. Otherwise, you may contact Registration and Records at (405) 325-6034 to sign up. 

Quick Facts

Course length: 2.5 hours 

Prerequisites: None 

Instructor: Brian deFonteny, LSS Black Belt

Location: Tinker Business and Industrial Park

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Next steps:

If you are a business or organization new to Lean Culture thinking, the Lean Institute recommends Building a Strategic Plan for overall Process Improvement and Business Culture as a follow-up to the Leading with Lean course.

For the Lean-experienced business, organization or individual, we recommend Business Culture Excellence Using the Deming Lens after completing Leading with Lean.



Participants receive Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits, which are required to maintain many professional licensures. OULI training also qualifies as PDU credits for Project Management Professionals. 


Public classes are held at the Tinker Business Industrial Park at I-40 and Sooner Road. All public classes are open enrollment and typically feature an interesting mix of teams from a variety of industries. 
The Lean Institute also offers private or contracted training programs onsite at locations across the state, including workshops implemented at suitable client facilities. 



OULI's team of instructors and consultants are practicing experts in the field with extensive history in implementing process improvement efforts and coaching students.   

Brian deFonteny

 deFonteny is the creator of Leading with Lean and other short courses offered by the OU Lean Institute. A certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt once active in the oil and gas industry, deFonteny has more than a decade of experience as a Lean practitioner, coach and instructor. He holds a master’s degree in human relations and a bachelor’s in psychology. deFonteny is committed to optimizing organizational success by helping others Lead with Lean. He is the author of Leadership Reimagined and an adjunct professor with the University of Oklahoma.

Joyce Hinton  

Hinton is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and has served as an OULI Lean Six Sigma coach, instructor and consultant for many of the Institute’s major clients. She is the primary instructor for the Institute’s LSS White and Green Belt training workshops. She holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and has completed extensive training in Lean Six Sigma methodologies, as well as having extensive experience in both management and procurement. 

Teresa Tobias  

Tobias is a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt trained by some of the original consultants in the industry (Sigma Sciences, Inc., p.k.a. Six Sigma Associates). She has worked with Six Sigma Academy, the first consulting organization created by the founder of Six Sigma, Dr. Mikel Harry. Tobias has extensive experience at the strategic level working with leadership. At the tactical level, she has coached and mentored clients' internal resources for hundreds of transformational projects.