A graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, Robert began his career in one of this country's foremost schools of leadership. Yet, like most, he gained his real impression of the skill by watching leaders. He came to realize that leadership is a precious gift that far too many fail to recognize.
In the mid-1980s, as Americans began to watch markets they had created be penetrated, then dominated by Japan, Robert started reading the literature trickling out of that country. Each new book pointed to a new technique.
"Statistical process control (SPC) is how they're doing it!" proclaimed some. "It's quality circles," countered others. Still others claimed it was just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing. As it turned out, none was right; all were right.
Over time, as a more complete picture formed, Robert learned that it was the combination of those tools that gave the Japanese their considerable edge. Still, the picture was not quite complete, and it wasn't until the late 1990s that the world came to realize that the tools alone would never make an organization Lean, because their results couldn't be sustained.
By then, Robert had made Lean a full-time profession. Over and over he transformed organizations. Some succeeded, but most failed. He tried to make heads or tails of the circumstances that made the difference. The answer, he discovered, was right under his nose all the time. The difference was leadership.
He learned that many have been content to manage and call it leadership. Management, however, isn't leadership. In fact, it's a far cry from there. Management faces backward, analyzing yesterday's data and perfecting it today. It's an extremely valuable skill, and much-needed, but it's not leadership. Leadership, as Robert sees it, is the ability to look forward, over the horizon and through the haze of battle, to define, then communicate, a new course of action and compel others to follow.
Robert has had the good fortune to work for some of this country's biggest and most successful organizations. Throughout his career, he's been afforded the privilege of working under great men and women who have taught him both in word and deed. Now a full-time consultant, Robert was the vice president of operations for a company making specialty apparel for the healthcare industry when he penned this novel.
More books by Robert B. Camp