Lean and Mean?

It sounds like a diet, or maybe some kind of weird and aggressive technique to lose weight. I read this term in the Deadline Novel, and I was like, “what are they talking about?”

“Organic Well Lean Noodles…” by coutaskdwfv https://flickr.com/photos/185642019@N06/49106899981 is licensed under CC CC0

In the novel, they satanize this term, for a moment I thought the novel was true and the term was everything bad a manager could do to an organization.

“Lean and Mean is a formula developed in failing companies by the people responsible for the failure” – extracted from the novel

When I started to write this blog post, I started satanizing the term, too. But I start my research to justify what I was saying, and there was a little problem, there is very few information about “Lean and Mean” being a bad thing.


A lean organization tries to make the most of what it has, reducing to zero the waste produced without lowering quality.


Mean means a lack of empathy. Perhaps this is the “why” it may sound like a bad term.

Lean and Mean

If why try to understand the meaning of both terms, and join them, yeah, it sounds terrible. Something like: Make the most of things but don’t care about anything else.

The truth

On the internet, the companies are categorized as Lean organizations, there are some that are categorized as Lean and Mean, but this doesn’t mean they are bad organizations. 

The National Center for the Middle Market (yeah, I don’t have any idea of what this organization is about), has a post called On Being Lean and Mean. This post just covers the Lean part and its up to the reader conclude that Lean and Mean === Lean.

Conclusion for today

Because the book you’ve been reading as a bible says it’s bad, it doesn’t mean it is bad, maybe just different if applied correctly.

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