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Concrete Head

A concrete head is someone who is resistant to the changes that Lean brings. Obviously this is a derogatory term. The term “concrete head’ is the result of a translation from Japanese.

In working with Japanese consultants, it appeared that the term was applied to individuals who displayed resistance, but was used matter-of-factly. It did not seem to carry the same negative charge that it does in its English translation.

In the US, the term “concrete head” is rarely used to specifically characterize an individual, especially in public. But it is, on occasion, used to describe a generic person who wants things to remain the same and dismisses change without trying it with an open mind.

Using this term displays a lack of respect for people, and it should be avoided. It implies that there is no reason for a person’s resistance to change other than that a person is inflexible.  In truth, when people push back against new ideas, it is for a reason. Uncover that reason and address it, and the person will no longer be in the “concrete head” category.


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