Sunday, February 24, 2008

Just what DO you do, while in Gemba?

The more I learn about Standard Work, the more I learn what I don’t know. Like peeling an onion, just to see another layer underneath, so working through Standard Work is an unending process for me.

Today’s observation. I’ve written quite a bit about "going to gemba", physically getting to the place where work is done to see for myself what is happening. And I’m now implementing my own standard work for the trip to gemba.

In each of several work areas, I have particular concerns. For me, as a leader and manager, I have to take specific actions to communicate to others my concerns. My objective, after all, is to engage others in addressing these concerns; I can’t operate under the illusion I will fix all problems. So, standard work for me is a) to go to the work place and b) take specific actions to reinforce action on the key concerns.

For example, in one work area, we have had issues scheduling daily work assignments. We now have a simple white board at the place of the morning start-up meeting. Yet, to make this more standard, I go to the board once each week and write encouraging comments on the board. In so doing, I want to communicate I see what is happening and encourage it to improve. I currently have four such activities to do weekly. I chart my done/not done on each. It is very humbling and alarming and encouraging...all at the same time.

At a deeper level (look out, onion), it is very arrogant of me to expect our team to do Standard Work if I am unwilling or unable to do Standard Work myself.

I have a long way to go. At least I know the road I am on.


lafever said...


Hi. My name is Dan Lafever and I was at your presentation on Hoshin Kanri at SIA and it was great. I since had one of my staff create a spreadsheet tool like the one presented. I thought your presentation pulling the big picture together with this tool was very helpful.

Just a tip to pass on in light of your desire to continuously improve. I found that I can remember Hoshin Kanri because it it sounds very close to "O Sean Connery".

I look forward to reading more...I'm trying to revive my blog about using Kaizen in every area of my life and I hope it's OK to link to your blog. Thanks so much!

Dan Lafever

Nils Eberhardt said...

Great reading your blogg