Leadership developmentAre you planning on going into 2018 with the same Tactical Planning practice and organization as in previous years….and expecting improved target achievement? For those of you answering yes and for those of you hesitating with an answer of no, it is not too late to change and make this the year to finally change to an effective approach.

Tactical planning is the process of understanding the strategic goals and, with your team, determine the hurdles, categorize them, and develop some actions to achieve the set forth strategic goals. Tactical planning also identifies all the stakeholders who will be affected by both the process inputs and resulting output changes resulting from successful tactical planning execution. The people who get the day to day work done are key stakeholders in tactical planning but, customers, people working in vertical processes, suppliers, support staff, and other departments can and will play key roles. There are many people involved and they can be part of how success is achieved or can be the ones who stop success.

Because tactical planning involves and affects so much of the local organization, the limited and traditional approach of Management By Objectives, receiving monthly or even weekly reports on results, email blasts of poor results, and once per month communication meetings, will most of the time, result in average or even negative results.

Engagement, empowerment, coaching and teaching, being supportive, and empathy are today’s leadership attributes needed to achieve world class results. These attributes are what you as leaders, within the local organization, can start to develop in 2018. It starts with commitment to personally develop as a leader. With commitment you will start the momentum of change and with the momentum engagement increases. Are you committed? Start by following these three steps:


Without visual management the next steps in creating momentum of change are difficult to accomplish and will soon stop because of leaders not being able to see any of the needed value. Visual management is needed for leaders to physically “see” progress, facilitating engagement. What must be seen in the Gemba to add value for leaders:

  1. Progress of process improvement through Autonomous Teams posting their A3’s.
  2. Progress of people engagement and development through coaching during daily A3 reviews posted where the work is happening.
  3. Progress of people development through posted training matrix’s.
  4. Progress of hourly outputs (even real-time outputs) through the correct process input settings.

Warning: Visual Management is not TV screens hanging in central places broadcasting process information from a database.


Leaders Standard Work starts with setting a weekly agenda of what you are going to do daily. Include the following:

  1. Personal Development – Each day you can practice empathy, coaching and teaching, and being supportive. However, and this is key, every day you must, get off the phone, limit email, and get off the office floor and go to the Gemba! It is the only way for you and others to become engaged.
  2. Key tasks you do now – Emails, requested meetings, report review, report preparation, business travel, and planning requirements do not go away. Each one of these tasks will remain, nonetheless they require review for waste and process improvement to reduce the amount of time consumed.
  3. Process improvement review – This happens in the Gemba, no other place can provide real time information, the emotion, root causes, and ability to coach and teach.
  4. Time to reflect – At the end of each day find a place for some quiet time. Review the daily notes you have taken, improvements made, what did not seem to work, and what problems are common. Take 10 minutes each day to re-read something intriguing from an improvement book you are reading. Develop a process on how to improve for tomorrow, what MUST be accomplished.


First for all of you leaders reading this article, answer this question: How frequent do you think you should take a Gemba Walk; Once per month, per week, or daily? I can tell you the answer I mostly hear as a Process Improvement Consultant; once per month. For leaders to be effective in achieving change Gemba Walks must be daily, several times a day. When you add up the times for your daily tasks in your Leaders Standard Work, it should total about 60% of your time. The Gemba is THE place for your personal development, process improvement, customer value improvement, and people development. I loathe the commercial adds for stand-up desks, building of “war” rooms, and stand up meetings. If you want to achieve 10,000 steps for your health, if you want to get real time information, if you want to understand root causes of problems, if you want to get things done efficiently and effectively, if you want to develop as a leader, simply, go to Gemba and get engaged.

Stop doing the same things over and over again that are not getting the results you really want. Be a self-learner, find a coach, follow the 3 steps, but start with being committed. Your creation of momentum will get you through the current insanity of continuous acceptance of average results.

“You always have two choices: your commitment versus your fears.” – Sammy Davis, Jr.

Lean Teams USA

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