Michael E. Parker is an accomplished entrepreneur, inspirational leader and author located in San Francisco, California. Mr. Parker is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of; Michael E. Parker Enterprises, Value-Centered Solutions, Inc and “You Are a CEO.”
As a well-seasoned executive with an extensive knowledge of the principles of Lean Management, ongoing commitment to mastering and implementing the core principles of lean management, Michael E. Parker has cultivated a wealth of expertise. Guided by these principles of constant improvement – a central tenet of lean management, Michael’s focus is not only on striving for excellence in his life but on empowering others to do the same.
The Ladder to Success
Michael E. Parker grew up in a tough area of Richmond, California. However, he credits his godparents as the positive influences in his life that encouraged him to aim high in his ambitions and work hard for his goals. Michael E. Parker attended California State University, Hayward where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Operations, and Procurement.
Lessons in Lean Management from Toyota
Michael E. Parker started his post-undergraduate career as a materials management specialist with New United Motor Manufacturing – the joint venture of General Motors and Toyota that introduced the “Toyota Production System” (the basis for lean management) to the US. Mr. Parker found that this management practice and philosophy fell in line with his views, and he was quickly placed on the fast track at Toyota, where he was chosen to work with the highest ranking executives. Akio Toyoda, president, and CEO of the Toyota Motor Corporation selected Michael to go to Japan and receive comprehensive training in lean management. Being sent to Japan to help the plants and suppliers based in North America is a story within itself – and the whole experience actually ignited a passion for this kind of management within Michael E. Parker. Being hand-picked by Akio Toyoda for this training was a tremendous honor, and the lessons would inform much of Mr. Parker’s later work.
Michael E. Parker continued with Toyota as a Senior Project Manager until 2001, when he could no longer deny his desire to apply all that he had learned and experienced to his ventures. More importantly, Michael E. Parker wanted to share his perspective as a tool to help others. Leaving Toyota was Mr. Parker’s choice, and although leaving such a fulfilling working environment was difficult, he could not shake the certainty that this was something he had to do. Being an entrepreneur and stepping away from the known requires courage, and Mr. Parker showed that he was in no short supply when he left Toyota to create businesses in various sectors.
Michael E. Parker will always be grateful for all that he learned at Toyota. Especially his time spent studying Lean Management. Mr. Parker looked at “Lean” as a way of thinking, not just principles to be applied to the manufacturing industry. Mr. Parker’s ability to see Lean’s applications in other industries allowed him to innovate and pioneer in multiple industries . Mr. Parker would later call his own unique blend of Lean coupled with his ideas, “Value-Centered Management,” a principle that led him to create tools that completely changed the technology sector. From technology to society to government, Michael E. Parker knew that the core principles of Lean management have the capacity to improve any industry.
Life as an Entrepreneur
Once Michael E. Parker accepted his entrepreneurial calling, he created businesses in a variety of industries including; service, manufacturing, and technology. Although each industry has a unique business climate and attracts different personality types, Michael E. Parker found that focusing on a unified vision was critical to the success of each business. Mr. Parker’s ventures grew to include 400 employees across four different states. Mr. Parker’s businesses flourished, but he also learned some hard lessons about building businesses in unstable climates. With the downturn of 2008, Michael E. Parker was tested.
The market crash of 2008 forced high losses in the size of Mr. Parker’s workforce, and he quickly realized that he couldn’t operate the way he used to. Instead, he had to reinvent and keep looking for new ways to create opportunity.
He embraced all that he had learned about Lean management at Toyota and entirely re-structured his companies. During this process, he started to write down his reflections on how Lean management succeeded and where the principles could benefit from being reworked. Michael also knew with certainty that these policies, though initially intended just for the automotive industry, were translatable to other sectors. Eventually, Michael refined his thoughts into a unique management philosophy of his own called,“Value-Centered Management.” This would become the foundation for his business, “Value-Centered Solutions, Inc” as well as the primary philosophy behind, “Who Said So? The Questions Revolutionary Businesses Ask that Make Them Successful”, published in 2008. This philosophy posits the customer as the most valuable link in the company chain and underscores the necessity for designing around this idea.Value-Centered Solutions empowers its clients with the tools and information necessary to understand how to provide superior service and products to their consumers.
Speaker, Teacher, Leader: Michael E Parker Today
Today Mr. Parker continues to share his empowering message of how to create high-performing businesses through speaking engagements and his written works. Mr. Parker is constantly looking for tools that assist others in their professional pursuits. He has also returned to his alma mater as an instructor at Cal State, Hayward. As a teacher, Mr. Parker shares what he has learned throughout his life with students and enjoys gaining new perspectives from this new generation of aspiring leaders, entrepreneurs, and agents of change.