Business & Society

'Avoiding the Continuous Appearance Trap' by Patrick Adams Receives Shingo Publication Award

LOGAN, Utah, January 23, 2023 — The Shingo Institute, a program of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, has awarded Patrick Adams the Shingo Publication Award for his book, Avoiding the Continuous Appearance Trap.

“Receipt of the Shingo Publication Award signifies an author’s significant contribution and practical application to the body of knowledge regarding organizational excellence,” says Ken Snyder, executive director of the Shingo Institute.

Avoiding the Continuous Appearance Trap: 12 questions to understand what’s truly underneath your culture is a practical guide to better understanding a company’s leadership and culture. The 12 questions that Adams outlines in this book give business leaders the ability to assess their operations. The book weaves together the stories of two companies that appear to be similar on the surface, but in reality, they couldn’t be more different. Adams illustrates the devastating distinction between being a company dedicated to continuous improvement and being a company that’s about “continuous appearance.”

“Many organizations attempt to apply continuous improvement tools as ends to themselves rather than as a means to a higher purpose,” says Bruce Hamilton, president of GBMP. “In his engaging book, Avoiding the Continuous Appearance Trap, Patrick Adams likens such a rudderless approach to ‘putting lipstick on a pig.’ At a distance, there may be a likeness to continuous improvement, but closer inspection unmasks a facade of Lean artifacts that look good for customer tours but are otherwise purposeless and even counterproductive. For any continuous improvement leader charged with transforming his or her organization from status quo to world class, Adams’ book poses 12 critical questions you should be prepared to answer. His empathetic narrative of two hypothetical organizations — ‘Company Continuous Improvement’ and ‘Company Continuous Appearance’ — illustrates the consequences of differing answers to each of these questions. This book is a good read for improvement leaders who are either just getting started or have been struggling for some time without results.”

Jeffrey K. Liker, author of The Toyota Way, says: Patrick Adams contrasts the cultures of two companies he worked for. Each company started with similar Lean models and visions, but one was mechanistic and only gave the appearance of Lean, while the other developed an actual culture of continuous improvement. The contrast provides a vivid example of the difference between fake Lean and true Lean.

Adams will receive his award at the Awards Gala during the Shingo Conference in Provo, Utah, USA, on May 23, 2023. The conference is a two-day event featuring keynote speakers and interactive breakout sessions designed to provide ongoing knowledge, insights and experience for organizations in pursuit of operational excellence. To learn more about the conference, please visit

To order your copy of Avoiding the Continuous Appearance Trap, visit

About the Shingo Institute

The Shingo Institute is home of the Shingo Prize, an award that recognizes organizations that demonstrate an exceptional culture that fosters continuous improvement. A program in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, the Shingo Institute is named after Japanese industrial engineer and Toyota adviser Dr. Shigeo Shingo. Dr. Shingo distinguished himself as one of the world’s thought leaders in concepts, management systems, and improvement techniques that have become known as the Toyota Production System.

Drawing from Dr. Shingo’s teachings and years of experience working with organizations worldwide, the Shingo Institute developed the Shingo Model, which is the basis for its several educational offerings, including workshops, webinars, podcasts, study tours, and conferences. Workshops are available in multiple languages through the Shingo Institute’s licensed affiliates. For more information on workshops and affiliates, or to register to attend the Annual Shingo Conference, please visit


Mary Price
Events and Marketing Manager
Shingo Institute


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