“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” -Andrew Carnegie

Improvement TimeRecently I was working with an organization on a key strategy objective of capacity improvement. Before arriving at any organization, I will have already prepared my “Leaders Standard Work” which outlines the end of each day with a Gemba walk. I like to take my own Gemba walk with the purpose of seeking a better understanding of what and how much of a role the “Hidden Factory” is playing in strategy deployment.

On my third Gemba walk of the week my eye was in some way attracted to one of the line Team Members who I had a short conversation on my first Gemba walk. At that time, it was somewhat short because of how busy he was and partly due to his demeanor. But on this walk, he kept glancing up to see what I was doing so I decided to go over and reintroduce myself. After some small talk I asked him some of my common questions, “Are you aware of the current strategy?” His answer indicated he was aware of the need to increase capacity. I then asked, “How do you contribute?” This resulted in somewhat of a puzzled but exited expression. He answered, “It is the same old thing, first, we are told of the “latest” strategy, second, we receive some training, and finally, and this is the worst part, we are not given enough time for improvement.” I took some notes and asked him if he would mind if I talked again with him tomorrow, he was all for it.

Another part of my Leaders Standard Work is to review any important findings and issues with the organization’s leadership team at or before the start of the next day. I asked this team if there was a process in place for line Team Members (along with a Facilitator) to work through the problem-solving process. They agreed there was and explained the Facilitator takes the time to work through the problem with support from Engineering, Quality, Safety, and their direct manager. I asked, “How are the Team Members involved?” There was a pause but in general, if the Facilitator could not understand why or how a work task, related to the problem, is being applied the Facilitator will go and ask the Team Members. They might also instruct the Team Members to start applying their training, like 5S, PDCA, TPM, SPC, SMED, etc. I then asked, “Why are they not directly assigned to a related problem as a team?” They answered with, “As you know we need to improve capacity so we cannot afford to stop production.”

Are these common leadership mistakes? What are the mistakes? Or do you feel the leadership team is doing what they must to achieve their strategy?
Lean Teams USA

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *