Tim Wiegel - Leading With Obeya

Maximizing human leadership potential


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In 2014 when Tim Wiegel was introduced to the concept of Obeya, pieces of a puzzle started falling into place. The Obeya (Japanese for ‘big room’) is a physical space where visual management is used to align operational teams and leadership in their efforts to translate strategy into meaningful day-to-day work and results. Toyota started using Obeya during the development of the Prius in the 90’s. Both the car itself and the way it was developed were a huge success from a project management perspective. A growing number of companies and teams are learning about the advantages of working with Obeya in industry, consumer goods, IT, finance, telcom, healthcare, government and ngo’s.

Using Obeya not just for a project, but to lead the organization itself is the answer to a much needed alignment between leadership and operational teams. It helps develop the ability to have meetings that create meaningful context and avoid distractions such as bias, ego and over-complexity. When used throughout the organization, it supports the development of a systematic approach to leadership that enables consistent, coherent and effective decision-making. In search for cause-and-effect under the umbrella of a committed purpose and clarity on strategic direction, the systems-thinking approach of Leading With Obeya helps teams move from fire-fighting to improving the performance of their organizational system sustainably.

Working with Obeya is a way to maximize your human leadership potential.

Leading With Obeya is the first comprehensive book about how to do it right. Tim Wiegel is a dedicated Obeya coach who has witnessed firsthand the breakthrough changes within teams when strategy leads to meaningful action and performance. He aims to drive development of community knowledge of Obeya with the Obeya Knowledge Network, involvement in the Obeya Association and regular blogposts at ObeyaCoaching.com

Published in October 2020 | Paperback | With illustrations | 256 pages | 66,000 words
Full English manuscript available

German rights sold to Franz Vahlen Verlag
Italian rights sold to Guerini.Next
Chinese rights sold to Cheers Publishing
English edition published by Management Impact
Dutch edition published by Tim Wiegel

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Tim Wiegel is a dedicated Obeya coach who has witnessed firsthand the breakthrough changes within teams, when strategy leads to meaningful action and performance. He has over ten years of coaching and consulting experience, working at banks, public services, healthcare, government, industry and telco companies. Recognizing there was a deeper problem to many of the projects he was asked to do, he started his learning journey on Lean and Agile ways of working in 2012. But things really clicked when he learned about Obeya at the 2014 Lean IT Summit in Paris. Since then, he studied, experimented and helped teams get started with Obeya, from start-ups to boardrooms.

Tim has witnessed many teams make a remarkable claim: “Now we cannot imagine how we used to manage our organization without Obeya”. Leading with Obeya builds upon the broad spectrum of experiences and learnings throughout Tim’s career, providing a common-sense approach for leadership teams to make a difference in this world. Tim leads up a coaching network that provides training and coaching at ObeyaCoaching.com and drives a growing community of people interested to lead their organization with Obeya.


'New ways of visual working has emerged considerably in the last few years. Obeya is a philosophy that can help you to understand how you can benefit from a visual language in your day to day business work. Visual thinking and doing is here to stay. Leading With Obeya is an engaging read to making the transition from traditional to visual management possible.'
Patrick van der Pijl, CEO Business Models Inc., speaker, author of Design a Better Business and Business Model Shift, producer of Business Model Generation

'Keeping an overview and the ability to steer when it gets big and complex in fast and dynamic environments, how do you do that? Obeya offers a solution and its practical value has been fully demonstrated in recent years. But how do you set up a good Obeya and how do you effectively introduce this tool into an organization? With his book Leading With Obeya, Tim Wiegel has succeeded in creating a book that offers many answers, but above all shows giant practical experience. The examples provide guidance, the approach gives direction, and the setup is super practical. In short: highly recommended!'
Rini van Solingen, speaker, professor at Delft University of Technology and author of How to Lead Self-Managing Teams, Formula X, The Power of Scrum, Scrum for Managers and The Responsive Enterprise

'I read Leading With Obeya with a feeling of great anticipation because, whilst many people are aware of the literal translation of Obeya (at its simplest ‘Great room’), few understand the philosophy behind its true use. I was therefore fascinated to learn how Tim would approach the topic and he didn’t disappoint. Right from the foreword Tim confronts the paradigms of how you, and your organization, works and challenges you to think differently on every page. What I really like about the book is that Tim doesn’t expect you to agree with his every point, he simply wants you to think about how you and your organization needs to change to be successful, using the principles of Leading With Obeya to emphasize the importance of great Leadership. He uses some fantastic visuals and examples to engage the reader and he maintains an interesting narrative throughout. The more people that are encouraged to move from a traditional management style to Lean leadership, the better, and Tim’s maiden book will help you and your organization to make the change.'
Philip Holt, Senior Vice President-Operational Excellence at GKN Aerospace and author of The Simplicity of Lean and Leading With Lean



Part I: Introducing Obeya and the Leadership Reference Model
Part II: Why Obeya is relevant for leading organizations
Part III: Principles of seeing, learning and acting together
Part IV: What’s on the walls – five visual areas, eight hours a week
Part V: Getting started - Transforming your leadership system

A final word and thanks
References / endnotes
About the Author

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German translation published by Franz Vahlen Verlag:

Obeya - japanisch für "großer Raum" oder "war room" - bezeichnet eine Form des Projektmanagements bei Toyota, ist ein Teil des Toyota-Produktionssystems und damit eine Komponente des Lean Managements.

Während der Produkt- und Prozessentwicklung sind alle an der Planung beteiligten Personen in einem "großen Raum" vereinigt, um schnellste Kommunikation und kürzeste Entscheidungswege zu ermöglichen. Somit entfallen die klassischen Barrieren, die sich durch das "Abteilungsdenken" (Silos) im Laufe der Zeit entwickelt haben. Bei Toyota sind dadurch Fahrzeugentwicklungen in deutlich weniger als 20 Monaten möglich geworden (Zum Vergleich: Der Durchschnitt bei anderen Automobilbauern liegt bei 36 Monaten). (Quelle: Wikipedia) Transparenz, Schnelligkeit und Anpassungsfähigkeit sind Merkmale agilen Managements, weshalb Obeya zunehmend auch in anderen Branchen und zur Führung von ganzen Organisationen eingesetzt wird. Führen mit Obeya ist der definitive Leitfaden für die Einrichtung und Nutzung eines schlanken "Headquarters" namens Obeya, ein systemischer und visueller Ansatz für Management, Teamleistung und Strategie. Obeya ist ein physischer Raum innerhalb Ihrer Organisation, in dem Sie gemeinsam die Strategie diskutieren, die Produktprozesse abbilden und die Leistung Ihres Teams bzw. Ihrer Teams verfolgen können. Der Schwerpunkt dieses Buches liegt auf der Erörterung des Obeya als ein Instrument, mit dem Sie Ihre Strategie umsetzen, das Management mit einem praktischen systemischen Ansatz unterstützen und Ihr Unternehmen erfolgreich führen können.

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Italian translation published by Guerini.Next:

Immaginate una grande stanza, luminosa, spaziosa, alle cui pareti sono appesi fogli e pannelli contenenti grafici e schemi ma anche post-it, annotazioni e domande. Immaginate ora questa stanza come il cuore di un’azienda che faccia della trasparenza e dell’allineamento efficace tra ogni componente dell’organizzazione il punto fondamentale della propria strategia. Inverosimile? Invece è accaduto e accade, dapprima in Giappone negli anni Novanta del secolo scorso, ora, ai nostri giorni, all’interno di aziende di tutte le dimensioni (da piccole start-up a colossi come Apple e Nike) e di tutto il mondo, dall’America all’Olanda, dall’Inghilterra all’Italia.

È il metodo Obeya (in giapponese: grande stanza), inventato in Toyota durante lo sviluppo della Prius, prima auto ibrida e grande caso di successo di project management Lean. Da allora un numero sempre maggiore di aziende e di team hanno compreso i vantaggi di sfruttare l’Obeya, non solo nella produzione industriale ma anche nei servizi, in settori diversi come la finanza e l’IT, la politica e le telecomunicazioni.

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