Leader Standard Work
Lean system and templates for implementing lean leadership responsibilities
What is Leader Standard Work?
One of the 3 essential components of a lean management system,
How to use your
Leader Standard Work template
Video: Leader Standard Work
Before getting started
Watch this training video >>>>>
You should have already completed the New User Training
so that you know how to use features common to all 150+ Systems2win templates.
Your leaders might have already personalized the DV sheet in your master template
so that you are starting with typical drop down lists for YOUR company.
Find and open your template
Find and open your Leader Standard Work template (LSW.xlsx or LSW.docx)
in the same way that you find and open your other 150+ Systems2win templates.
There are actually two templates: one in Excel and the other in Word.
Most people prefer the Excel template, because it has a lot more features.
If English is not your preferred language
Switch to your language, just like every Systems2win Excel template.
Personalize your template for your routine tasks
Do not skip this step
Each leader uses the Leader Standard Work template (LSW.xlsx)
as the starting point to create their own personalized template.
Your Systems2win Leader Standard Work templates are designed to serve as a starting point for lean leaders to personalize and "make their own". Rather than starting out with a blank sheet of paper, they provide an excellent starting point for daily and weekly standard work tasks common to other industry leaders with similar lean leadership responsibilities
'Day', 'Week' and 'Month'
and then re-hide those sheets
after you have personalized them for your leader standard work routine tasks.
Personalize your own drop down lists on the 'DV' sheet.
Store your personalized template in a personal or team folder.
Do NOT store this template that has been personalized for just you
in the Systems2win portal with the other master templates shared by everyone.
Suggested filename for your personalized template = LSW_YourName.xlsx
See document storage and naming conventions, with tips to avoid broken links,
At the beginning of every reporting cycle — generate a working document
(a reporting cycle is usually a month or a week)
In the Systems2win menu, select 'Generate a Working Document'
and then save your working document
Tip: Save any changes to your personalized template before clicking the button,
because unsaved changes will be lost.
Suggested naming convention = LSW_YourName_YY-MM.xlsx
where YY-MM is year and month
If you have a monthly reporting cycle…
it is your choice whether to start a new working document
on the Monday of the week that spans the beginning of a new month,
or to split a week between two monthly documents.
It will then create a working document that you will use for that reporting cycle,
and that working document will have:
- The correct number of sheets
for the number of days, weeks, and months
in YOUR reporting cycle
- The ability to work on ANY device that supports Excel, including Macintosh, pads, and other stripped-down versions of Excel
- Easy red/yellow visual controls
pre-programmed to use the tolerances that you selected on the 'DV' sheet
Learn more about this unique Systems2win feature to Generate a Working Document
Use your Leader Standard Work
to document tasks completed, time spent, and any user-defined data unique to your job.
Document countermeasures taken to solve problems,
and tasks to later transcribe to your Team Accountability Board,
and questions and ideas to discuss with your mentor.
Unlike production standard work documents,
(which are often revision-controlled documents meant to be read, not edited),
leader standard work templates are designed to be highly personalized daily checklists
that are designed to be carried around and used as a checklist to remind each lean leader of their daily and weekly responsibilities.
More than a checklist, a Leader Standard Work form is where a leader can document daily notes, observations, requests for action or follow-up, and action items to later transfer to the team's Accountability Task List bulletin board.
Electronic or printed?
That's a choice that each leader should be allowed to make for themselves.
If you prefer to use a laptop, pad or phone app for your leader standard work, however,
it is essential to print a daily summary sheet — that serves as a highly visible signal of work completion in the visual accountability board that is easily seen and accessed by others.
(The principles of lean visual management absolutely reject electronic documents that are invisible
to everyone that does not have access to your personal iPhone)
Systems2win template or some other format?
is another choice that each leader should be allowed to make for themselves.
Even if some leaders don't use the Systems2win template for their Leader Standard Work,
every one of your leaders will benefit from the online training.
Some executives that have only a small percentage of their day devoted to routine standard work
might use their daily planner, or a small printed card, or a (printable) phone app.
On a regular mentoring cycle
At the end of each reporting cycle (usually daily, and certainly not longer than than weekly),
each leader submits their completed Leader Standard Work form to the manager to whom they directly report
In keeping with the principles of lean visual management systems,
the act of delivering daily leader standard work might consist of slipping it into a clear plastic hanging folder on a visual display bulletin board — thereby signaling completion of that day's leader standard work, and storing it in a central, public place where it can be easily found and reviewed by others.
If the supervisor is not in the same physical location, then an electronic version might be emailed to the supervisor.
As part of their regularly scheduled meeting...
(which shows up as a task on the leader standard work documents for both mentor and learner...)
in sensei-apprentice fashion, the learner and mentor review the standard work, and discuss things like:
Every lean tool needs
Lean Coaching System
- Tasks that were missed, and why
- Unusual circumstances, or things you weren't sure how to handle
- How to make your routine responsibilities easier, more effective, and more reliable
As part of their regular gemba walk together (usually weekly)...
the lean leader and next-level manager will briefly review the entire week's results,
looking for patterns that could reveal systemic sources of interruption that might prompt action items to be added to the Accountability Task Boards at the appropriate team, department, or value stream level.
The week's checklists are then archived —
to remain available for possible later review looking for longer term trends.
Continue to personalize and improve your Leader Standard Work
in ways that make you more and more effective.
More than just a template
Your Leader Standard Work template provides a system for the leaders within your organization to:
- Personalize their own standard work — with all the power, flexibility, and familiarity of Microsoft Excel
- Do it in a way that is standardized, repeatable, and teachable — across a large enterprise that might span the globe
When you own this Leader Standard Work template
you also own many other useful lean management templates —
Who uses Leader Standard Work?
Every single leader in a lean organization
should spend a percentage of his or her day doing routine, standardized lean management tasks.
Still managing the old way?
Have you tried
Lean Management Systems?
The closer to the customer, the higher the percentage of time
that Leader Standard Work checklists should be followed:
- Team Leaders — 80% of their time
might be devoted to completing leader standard work
No one should have more than 80% of their time scheduled.
Leader standard work should be consciously designed to allow discretionary time
to do non-repetitive things like respond to problems, train people, and work on improvement tasks.
- Department Supervisors — 50%
- Value Stream Managers — 25%
- Executives — 10%
Yes, even the CEO in any lean organization
should also perform a small percentage of routine, standardized lean management responsibilities,
and should make a big deal out of setting the example for everyone else by making it very publicly obvious
that even the CEO follows leader standard work for a percentage of his or her typical day.
Leader Standard Work is layered
from the bottom up
Leader standard work is intentionally designed to focus multiple layers of attention on the same process.
Here's an example to help you understand how this might work...
Reinforcing Focus on a Process
Top layer = Leader Standard Work,
Accountability Task Board — systematically ensures accountability for completing assignments
Multi-tier daily stand-up meetings —
Visual Controls — show expected to actual results, with clear reasons for every miss, and red/green coding that a newcomer can understand 10 feet away
Standard Work for the production process — everyone does it the same way every time
Bottom layer = Production Process
The Team Leader's Standard Work
might prescribe the Team Leader to add a new line of data entry into the Production Tracking Log visual management system every Pitch Cycle (for example, every 30 minutes), and (importantly) adding clear and complete notes to explain the reasons for any misses.
The Department Supervisor's Standard Work
might then prescribe the Department Supervisor to spot check and add her initials to that Production Tracking Log every 2 hours. And the supervisor's standard work prescribes leading a brief daily stand-up meeting with her team leaders, where part of the regular agenda is to review any of yesterday's misses, and ensure that appropriate action has been taken or initiated.
The Value Stream Manager's Standard Work
might then prescribe the Value Stream Manager to spot check and add her initials to that same visual management system Production Tracking Log once a day, and lead a brief daily stand-up meeting with her Supervisors, where part of the regular agenda is to review those same yesterday's misses,
and ensure that appropriate action has been taken or initiated at the appropriate level
(team, department, or value stream/supporting roles).
The top-level manager or executive's standard work
might then prescribe the senior leader to spot check that same visual management Production Tracking Log whenever she visits that work area, and to lead a brief regularly-scheduled meeting with her Value Stream Managers and Supervisors, where part of the regular agenda is to discuss the biggest problems or opportunities that have emerged from all of this focused attention on the all-important production process.
In this way, standard work is layered to ensure multi-layered focus on the processes that produce the results
which is the most challenging aspect of the transition
from a traditional results-only culture to a lean results-and-process-focused culture.
In other words...
If you earned your MBA from a college that teaches MBO (Management By Objectives),
then you need to unlearn what you were taught,
because that's not the way things work in a lean organization.
In a lean organization, every level of management focuses on both:
Results, and the Processes that yield results
and Leader Standard Work is one very common way to ensure that every leader does exactly that.