“The four key systems model focuses the reader’s attention to where ‘the rubber meets the road’ in a lean transformation.  If companies do not grasp this concept, they will work very hard, be very disappointed with the results, and fail to sustain their commitment over the long haul.”

– Thomas Hartman, President and Managing Director, Autoliv South America


In “Own the Gap,” Martyn and Crowell drive home a point which is often overlooked, even by world-class lean practitioners: the primary feature of implementation must center on the imperative to link Strategy Deployment with Visual Management.  Too often, a preoccupation with the tools of lean actually impedes the creation of a sustainable lean culture.  Rather, the authors focus the reader on the need to identify and “own the gap” between current state conditions and future state desired outcomes, and demonstrate, convincingly, that daily management of key metrics will lead to superior performance for customers, employees, and stakeholders.  Finally, I positively LOVE the authors’ leadership model of T2H (trustworthy, tenacious and humble), which are under appreciated characteristics, even within many successful lean conversions.  While there are no “how-to” books about lean that replace the imperative to “go and see” at the gemba, “Own the Gap” will reinforce the reality that improving the work is the work.

– Cliff Ransom, Founder, Ransom Research, Inc.


“Own the Gap”, lays out a clear picture of the gap that exists between the desired results of Lean and the true means by which those results are achieved.  The book teaches in a simple and systematic way how to develop a team-based daily kaizen culture, and reminds you to have fun while doing it.  By teaching how to build a culture that respects, values, and empowers the people and teams throughout an organization, readers will learn how to realize the true potential of their teams and organizations.  Martyn and Crowell got it right with this book.”

– Alexei Dobsky, Continuous Improvement Manager, TWG


This book is as inspiring as it is practical.  “Own the Gap” contains one of the best systematic approaches I have seen that is simple, yet delivers high impact for creating daily improvement.  Mike Martyn and Brian Crowell do a masterful job of showing how tools, systems and principles link together to create a a high impact culture.  Every page contains an idea that stops you in your tracks and makes you rethink everything you thought you knew about a management system.”

– Jacob Raymer, Director of Education, The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence


“We have been able to embed the lean principles in our large manufacturing organizations by following the approaches outlined in the book. Engaging our front line teams and more importantly, the front line supervisors that make factories tick, has made a tremendous difference in our ability to solve problems and drive improvement. This disciplined, practical approach to follow-up has driven immediate results and changed lean principles from concepts in a classroom to the way that our teams logically execute their everyday work.”

 – Karen Davies, Vice President Business Integration and Operations, ATK Defense


“Getting sustained results from change initiatives can be challenging and this is one of the best books I have read on improving  your organization.  The authors provide a common-sense approach and the systems needed for driving real and sustainable improvement. The process of identifying, understanding and closing the gap not only makes sense but has been proven to produce amazing results. The four key systems outlined in “Own the Gap” would be applicable for any business size in any sector of the economy.”

– Matt Wardle, Founder and President, JD Machine


“My library is full of interesting books on leadership and management, crammed with theoretical knowledge.  Yet the one which I choose to keep by my side is “Own the Gap.”  Martyn and Crowell, who have actually turned companies around, present a well-organized, closed-loop model that works; we are living proof that the Four Key Systems can be readily learned and deployed across a wide variety of industries and functions.  Though we are early in our Lean journey, our focus is better, our goals are clearer, and our results are strengthening our commitment to this framework.

– V’Ella Warren, Senior Vice President and Treasurer, University of Washington

“The model contained in Own the Gap is what many companies have been missing in the drive to create sustainable continuous improvement.  Specifically, Mike and Bryan’s experience and insight into employee engagement has helped identify the missing piece of the puzzle to organizational success.  The closed loop management system they present will help organizations in any industry, not just manufacturing companies.”
– Robbie Gale, Westinghouse Electric Company