Lean Management System
for Lean Leadership
Use Ctrl+F to find keywords
Bookmark = culture
What is lean culture?
Lean culture is when continuous improvement is done with people, not to people.
There are 3 primary cultural enablers
What’s the difference between lean management and lean culture?
Lean culture is the sum of its individuals’ habits
Lean management is a systematic way to shape those habits
What’s the difference between lean management and traditional mgmt?
Bookmark = leadership
Popular ways to organize your process improvement teams
1) Daily Accountability Teams
The backbone of your lean daily management system
One of the most noticeable differences between a new vs. a mature lean organization is the percent of improvements generated by their Lean Daily Management System.
In a mature lean organization:
Any improvements that are within the control of a single team
should routinely and systematically be found and improved by that team.
Every team member not only knows which tools to use to solve diverse problems, but also understands the underlying lean principles, and comes up with creative ways to apply them to unique challenges.
A much larger percentage of ideas for cross-team improvements are generated and trickled up from the Daily Accountability Teams.
All other types of teams are needed only for processes that cross team boundaries.
In a less mature organization:
Opportunities for improvement come much more frequently from lean leadership or "outside eyes" that have become more adept at learning to see opportunities to eliminate waste —
and therefore each of the following types of cross-functional teams have even greater importance in the early stages of an organization's lean journey.
2) Kaizen Events
A Kaizen Event is one popular way to achieve dramatic process improvements in a very short time (less than a week), by sequestering a team of representatives for all process stakeholders — who then focus 100% of their effort to perform an intense burst of improvement.
3) A3 Charters
The A3 Problem Solving Method can be done by sequestering the team (similar to a kaizen event), or (more commonly), can be led by a champion who meets with individuals and small groups of stakeholders on a more flexible time schedule.
A3 Problem Solving is a flexible, time-effective, and popular way to organize a cross-functional improvement effort — often without the need to form a team.
It is a simple, (easily-duplicated and managed) method to systematically:
- Define and solve problems
- Teach managers how to better coach, mentor, and lead
- Instill lean thinking as a cultural habit
4) 8D Problem Solving
The 8D Problem Solving Method provides a systematic way for a team to resolve an issue that has uncertain root causes — in a way that ensures that root causes have been identified and verified — and that both interim and permanent corrective actions are validated for effectiveness and instituted in a way that prevents a similar situation from ever recurring or escaping again.
8D is most often used in conjunction with Corrective Action Reports — if (and only if) the root cause is uncertain. Other problem methods are more appropriate if the focus is only upon decision making or problem prevention.
5) Chartered Six Sigma Teams
Another approach to solving a problem that has uncertain root causes is to charter a Six Sigma Team —
to Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and then Control the improved process — usually using statistical analysis and data-gathering techniques that are appropriate for more mature organizations that have already “picked the low-hanging fruit” by using simpler lean methods.
6) Process Improvement Teams
Too familiar perhaps... because these 1950’s approaches to team organization are only appropriate for large, complex projects — like:
- Moving facilities or opening a new location
- Business Process Reengineering
- ERP Software Project Teams
- QFD Teams
For most lean implementation missions, there are usually better approaches.
7) Value Stream Teams
All of the above types of teams put the cart before the horse if the mission of the team was not first chartered by the Value Stream Team.
The purpose of a Value Stream Team is to identify which priorities will yield the most value to the flow of value through the entire value stream — not just some sub-optimized sub-set of it.
8) Hoshin Policy Deployment Teams
Different Hoshin Teams might use any or all of the various problem solving tools and methods — at different times and for different purposes.
Word templates to define YOUR Team Roles
Your Systems2win continuous improvement templates include several Word templates
And then your personalized PDF's are then distributed the same way that you store and distribute all of your company’s policies (as defined in the Storage and Naming Policies PDF in your portal).
Refer to the Continuous Improvement Leadership Roles template for
leadership team names, role titles, ideal profiles, and performance evaluation criteria for
the teams and roles that support all of your other types of Process ImprovementTeams:
- Continuous Improvement Leadership Team
- Continuous Improvement Steering Committee
- Continuous improvement responsibilities of your company's Executive Team
- Executive Sponsor / Change Agent
- Highest Ranking Executive Officer
Bookmark = System
Lean Management System
Every element of every lean production system should be simultaneously implemented with a corresponding
lean management system to support and sustain it.
Essential elements of a lean management system
Lean Management Templates
to assess the progress of your change initiatives
- Easy-to-understand-at-a-glance trend charts, thermometer charts,
and radar chart
- Easily personalized with your own assessment criteria
- Completed by all levels of leadership on a periodic basis
- 5-minute review serves as terrific mental preparation
for your weekly gemba walk
Before & After Storyboard
One Good Idea — Before & After Storyboard
Lean storyboard, Six Sigma story board
- Extremely easy to use
- Very motivating
- Each team maintains a 3 ring binder of implemented ideas
- Publish on your Team Accountability Board — and other bulletin boards
Leader Standard Work templates
for your Team Leaders, Department Supervisors, Value Stream Managers, and top-level Executives
Leader Standard Work
- Standard work is the cornerstone of every lean production system,
and should also be the cornerstone of every lean management system
- Lean leadership checklists should be carried and followed for a large percentage of lean management tasks:
- Team Leaders — 80% of their time should be devoted to completing leader standard work
- Department Supervisors — 50%
- Value Stream Managers — 25%
- Executives — 10%
PDCA Coaching template
As part of your Improvement Kata routine habits, use the PDCA Coaching template for Learner and Coach to maintain a record of past experiments, results, and learnings —
and to plan your next PDCA experiment.
Publish your printed PDCA Coaching template on your Team Accountability Board
to serve as a Lean Storyboard.
Continuous Improvement Leadership tools
Each of the 4 bundles of templates include their own subset of lean leadership tools...
fill-in-the-blanks templates with step-by-step online training
for the types of continuous improvement projects typically encountered on your lean journey
- Full suite of tools for lean standard work
- Standard Work Audit
- 5S Checklist
- Gemba Interview
- Full suite of lean training tools
- Full suite of tools to plan and implement a kaizen event
- Full suite of tools for A3 problem solving
- Full suite of tools for value stream mapping
- A partial suite of lean six sigma tools
(with some eye-popping templates to supplement what your statistics software doesn't do)
- Multi-User Setup Checklist
to get off to a great start when you first install or upgrade
- Full suite of tools and online training to shape the habits of your lean leaders
to systematically achieve that popular but slippery goal — to institute a lean culture
What drives cultural change?
Expectations for clearly defined behavior, and consistently applied processes for supporting it.
Every element of any lean production system must have a corresponding lean management system element to support it.
"If I had to choose between lean training for a new recruit to lead a lean area or providing him or her with a copy of clearly written standard work, I would choose standard work every time."
David Mann ~ Author of Creating a Lean Culture
Bookmark = Accountability
Lean Management systems to instill Lean Culture habits
Go to the place, look at the process, talk with the people
The primary purpose of gemba walking is to teach
Yes, there are many other benefits:
But the overwhelming primary purpose of a gemba walk is to teach.
When you are the gemba walker, you are playing the role of sensei (mentor, coach, teacher).
A gemba walk is a master-disciple, teacher-student form of learning —
where your goal as sensei is to ask questions (fighting your strong impulse to just tell them what to do)
that cause your student to see things differently,
to look at a process that may be many years familiar to them,
and to see it fresh and anew with “kaizen eyes”,
suddenly seeing waste that has always been there,
but that suddenly becomes visible in an “aha” moment.
“Aha” moments happen only when a student is actively thinking,
not just receiving information.
And the best way to trigger thinking is to ask questions.
Questions designed to cause the learner to
see waste that they never noticed before,
and questions designed to stimulate the learner to
creatively apply lean tools, methods, and teachings
in creative, improvised ways that fit the needs of this unique situation.
Each unique situation almost always requires some invention
and adaptation of lean principles.
In the real world, it is rare to be able to apply a tool or method
in the exact same form that it was introduced in a book, or even in a Systems2win template. That's one reason that your Systems2win templates are written using Microsoft Word and Excel — so that it is easy to personalize them for your unique situations that you encounter on your lean journey.
The role of the sensei is to ask questions, introduce new tools and approaches, stimulate new thinking, teach, and (sparingly) to give advice... but the student should always be responsible for making all decisions. The only decision that the sensei makes is whether to continue working with the student — based on their follow through to commitments.
The primary benefit of this Socratic method of asking questions (instead of just telling answers) is that the student learns much more thoroughly. Thoroughly enough to soon start doing their own gemba walks with their own subordinates, with your student slowly but surely evolving into their own incarnation of master sensei.
The primary challenge of this gemba walk method of learning is that it is slow. It requires patience.
To be most effective, gemba walking should start from the top down. Gemba walking should ideally start with a very experienced consultant serving as the sensei for your President and executive-level Change Agent. Just seeing your top-level leaders out there on the production floor on a weekly basis will do wonders to deliver the message to everyone in the company that "this change initiative is different".
Let the boss be the
By nature, senior-level executives are far more comfortable in the role of leader, rather than learner.
So rather than putting them in the position of being a "student" right there in front of the people they manage, it a much better idea for the consultant sensei to serve as a tactful mentor —
Using the Lean Assessment template for gemba walk preparation
Yes, consulting time can get expensive,
and yes, most executives are quick learners
that will be very motivated to do some self-study so that they can quickly be as competent and comfortable as possible with this new highly visible role.
That's where the Systems2win Lean Assessment template is so valuable...
A quick 5-minute review of these lean performance evaluation criteria will quickly refresh the executive's mind with the things to look for and questions to ask on their upcoming gemba walk.
The purpose of a gemba walk is to observe what is actually happening at the place where the work is being done,
and to mentor by asking questions and perhaps introducing or reminding of potentially helpful lean tools and teachings.
Rather than entering data into the form after each gemba walk,
and rather than bringing a printed copy of this Assessment on gemba walks, we suggest instead to simply...
spend a few minutes reviewing this Assessment form prior to each gemba walk
as an excellent way to prepare yourself mentally.
A Routine Accountability Habit
Each leader's standard work should include periodic audits — using audit checklists to remind them of what to always look for, and to provide a written archive record that can be analyzed for trends.
Audit checklists can be created for anything
that significantly influences the effectiveness of any process.
How do you get diverse people to assess audit questions using consistent criteria?
A Routine Accountability Habit
Leader Standard Work checklists are carried and followed by every Team Leader,
Department Supervisor, Value Stream Manager, and top-level executive —
as a way to systematically get above-average results from average people.
A Routine Accountability Habit
The Systems2win Leader Standard Work template includes detailed suggestions for how to structure 4 tiers
of routinely-scheduled stand up meetings — usually held in front of the team's Team Accountability Board.
- Team Leader with production team members
- Department Supervisor with Team Leaders
- Value Stream Manager with Supervisors and support resources
- Executive or Plant Manager with Supervisors and Value Stream Managers
What are some field-tested guidelines for how to coach people?
What questions should I ask when I'm the Lean Leader on my gemba walks, or my audit discussions,
or the Leader Standard Work review meetings with my subordinates, or as part of regularly-scheduled
stand up meetings?
How does a lean coach think? And teach his people to think the same way?
That is the subject of the Coaching Kata habits
taught in Chapter 8: The Coaching Kata: Leaders as Teachers
of Mike Rother's book, Toyota Kata,
and his website expands the instruction even further in the Toyota Kata Handbook.
Mike's book, however, focuses on how to serve as a Coach for one specific process —
the Improvement Kata, which is appropriately used when one specific condition is encountered:
Navigating Unknown Territory.
If you are navigating unknown territory, then use your PDCA Coaching template.
If you are not navigating unknown territory,
then you should be using your Tool Selection Matrix
to find a more appropriate approach for the challenge you are facing at the moment.
And every one of those other lean tools and methods needs a corresponding coaching system.
Bookmark = LeanCoaching
Lean Coaching habits for ANY Lean System
Every lean system needs a coaching system.
Suggestion: Bookmark this
section of this page,
and come back often
until these coaching habits
become absolutely ingrained
in everything you do
Here are some lean coaching habits that should become so ingrained
that they are "just the way we do things around here".
Do 2 things at once
As a Coach, your goals are:
- to get things done
- to teach your people to use lean thinking in everything they do
Go to the place where the work is done — and observe what is happening for yourself.
Go there repeatedly. Most coaching should be done where the work is done.
Ask non-leading questions
The best questions might have more than one obvious answer — and cause your people to honestly think and reflect, and maybe come up with ideas that you might have never considered.
Ask leading questions
Don't let your Learner wander too far away from the general direction of the target challenge.
Expand your own personal competence with a wide variety of process improvement tools and methods,
so that you can suggest helpful field-proven systematic approaches to any challenge.
If there is no well-known standard lean system that exactly fits what you're trying to accomplish,
then use your Tool Selection Matrix to start with the closest one, then personalize it — using what you know about Lean Principles and your team's imagination to apply those principles in new, creative ways.
Have a 2nd Coach
Every sensei needs a sensei.
Every lean coaching system should include a systematic way to coach the coach.
Truth in humor
See our short article on
Bookmark = Training
Training & Demo Videos
More training for lean management
The Sample and Help worksheets of every template
Make sure your sound is on
Bookmark = Reading
Suggested Reading and Resources
If you appreciate our free on-line training, you can support us by buying your books through these links to Amazon.com
Toyota Kata Handbook
These lean management templates are part of
which also includes leader standard work, kaizen tools, project management tools,