“To me” or “with me”?
We talk in Lean circles quite a bit about “going to gemba”, the workplace. Jeff Liker calls it “go and see for yourself.” And, on a very practical basis, it means physically moving to the place where associates do the work.
Why is this seemingly simple thing so effective? I’ve said for years, both to myself and to others, “Something good always happens when I walk through the workplace.” But it has nothing to do with me; I’m no vibrant, charismatic person, much more the opposite. But why?
Does “going to Gemba” work in a Lean system because it allows a manager and associates to make improvements “with” each other and not “at” each other?
A memo or email feels “from on high” to the associates who have to implement it. A conversation in the workplace, however, feels much more empathetic, doesn’t it?