Toyota's pioneering innovations in production and organization are often the example companies aiming for leaner operations try to follow. But, say McKinsey researchers, many of the would-be emulators forgo up to half of the savings by skipping the "soft" side of Toyota's lean program -- leadership development, aligning the boardroom and the shop floor, and skill-building. "Mastering lean's softer side is difficult because it forces all employees to commit themselves to new ways of thinking and working," the researchers say.

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