I have been quite remiss in not writing about Karl Wadensten in all my years of writing for Evolving Excellence. You can’t truly be a center of the lean community with out talking about Karl. The problem is that, as wordy as I might be, I don’t have the words to adequately describe Karl.
That’s Karl to the left. He runs a company called Vibco in Rhode Island that makes industrial vibrators.
You can read about Karl and Vibco in this article from the Westerly Sun. It is all true and it paints a pretty positive and accurate picture of a great – but unique – lean leader and the extremely lean company he runs, but words failed the writers at the Sun, as well. Karl just can’t be described.
Video does a better job – pictures being worth a thousand words and so forth – so this from the Providence ABC affiliate is pretty good.
Better yet is to watch and listen to Karl’s Lean Nation radio and TV broadcasts .. you can find some of them here. Better yet, do a Google search for “lean nation” and you can find Karl in his passionate element with just about everyone and anyone who has anything to say about lean.
In the end, the only way to understand Karl is to meet him face to face and feel the enthusiasm and passion. Just don’t be surprised at anything he might say or do. He once moderated a townhall event in which folks could askKevin and me anything that wanted to about lean – and he stole the show. Leaving the ‘industrial’ part out of the description of his vibrator business, and weaving every possible vibration-related sexual inuendo into his straighfaced description of his business, Karl had most of the largely female audience rolling in the aisles in tears – and the rest storming out in shock before the event began. When Karl gets on a roll, his intensely loyal staff can only step back and roll their eyes.
Karl is one of a kind. No one puts more energy and conviction into lean than Karl; and no one embodies lean leadership better than Karl. Be sure to read his page on lean when you bounce around the Vibco site. He is truly one of lean’s crown jewels.