Lean Roadmap Newsletter
Becoming a World Class Enterprise 
22nd Edition  
Holiday Greetings!
The topics for this edition are:
    • The Lean Leader Coach Series Continues with "Expectations of the Leader"
    • A3 Problem Solving - What it is ... and isn't

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The Lean Leader Coach Series -
"Expectations of the Leader"
This series is intended to provide tools, tips, ideas, and coaching for leaders whose organizations are implementing Lean as their operating system.
by Mattie Watson

In this issue, we will explore some expectations that followers in organizations have of the leader. 

All followers expect certain things from the leader of their organization - honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, loyalty - to name a few. These expectations are very high and, most of the time, the followers do not expect the leader to meet their expectations. Their experience dictates that leaders are NOT the shining examples followers would like them to be. So why do followers have the expectations at all?

The answer lies in basic human needs. We all want to be part of something great - something better than ourselves. Despite previous disappointments and letdowns, folks still hope that this new job, this new company, will meet the deep needs of their spirit - to be appreciated, to be consulted, to matter. This, then, is the job of the leader - to create an environment where people are free to be dynamically engaged in the business by mentoring, encouraging, and empowering the workforce. This activity touches the deep needs of the people working in your organization and creates in them a strong desire to rise to your highest expectations. 

Before this can happen, however, Leaders must earn the respect of the workforce by holding themselves to a higher standard. They need to be aware that they are constantly under a microscope and all their words and actions are noted, critiqued, discussed, and judged by everyone in the organization. Don't believe it? Just listen to the discussions of your peers when they talk about upper management. While ethical behavior may seemingly be ignored, just watch what happens when the leader is found guilty of violating any rules. This is true even if the violation is only perceived and did not actually occur. That is why Leaders must have open lines of communication with all associates. While not everyone will be willing to provide you with negative feedback, you must have people working for you who will. Otherwise, you may never be aware that a problem exists. 

Finally, you should also be aware that you are judged based on the actions of your associates' previous supervisors. In fact, until you prove otherwise, it will be assumed that you hold the same opinions and values as your predecessors - even if they work for a different company. It's not fair or even logical, but it is true. The good news is you can prove otherwise. Having an open conversation with new associates is a good way to start. Ask what they liked about their last boss and what they didn't like. Ask what their specific expectations of you are. Ask what kind of work environment they need and how you can help provide it. Don't be surprised if the answers are not provided quickly. You may need to give the person a day or so to think about it. Schedule a time to meet again and discuss the answers. Be willing to share what your expectations of the associate are, too. You are far more likely to meet your associate's expectations if they are clearly identified in advance.

In the next issue, we will start to explore the subject of empowerment. 

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Certified Lean Facilitator Training
 Special Discount!
 Send one person to the Milwaukee or Mechanicsburg sessions noted below at the regular price, and add a second person for just the cost of the materials ($160.00).

Certified Lean Facilitator Training (Manufacturing)

Milwaukee, WI


This standard Certified Lean Facilitator training session will be hosted by Snap-on Tools in Milwaukee, WI.
You can attend just one class or start the journey to becoming a Certified Lean Facilitator by attending all 3 weeks.
Session dates are:
Week 1 = January 11, 2010
Week 2 = February 15, 2010
Week 3 = March 15, 2010
For more information and pricing, Click Here
For scheduling call Kelly at (260) 637-8064 or email kelly@wcmfg.com

Certified Lean Facilitator Training (Administrative/Service) 

Mechanicsburg, PA

This standard Certified Lean Facilitator training session will be hosted by CenterPoint Engineering Inc. Centerpoint is a Construction Engineering firm.  

You can attend just one class or start the journey to becoming a Certified Lean Facilitator by attending all 3 weeks.
Revised session dates are:
Week 1 = March 22, 2010
Week 2 = April 19, 2010 
Week 3 = May 17, 2010 
For scheduling, call Kelly at (260) 637-8064 or e-mail kelly@wcmfg.com
For more information and pricing, Click Here
A3 Problem Solving - What it is ... and isn't
Like all the Lean tools in the Toyota developed "Waste Elimination Tool Box," A3 Problem Solving is a very powerful tool from both a Lean Culture development standpoint and as a structured/standard work problem solver. Unfortunately, many organizations jump to Toyota's A3 Problem Solving as a "magic pill" or "silver bullet" to unravel their seeming lack of problem solving skills without understanding that it is their lack of a supporting Lean Culture that prevents them from effectively using any problem solving technique.
by Larry Rubrich 
A3 refers to a European paper size that is roughly equivalent to an American 11"x17" tabloid size paper. The A3 format is used by Toyota as the template for three different types of A3 reports:
  • Proposals
  • Status   
  • Problem Solving
There is no "magic" in the steps that the structured A3 Problem Solving template takes a team through. These steps are basically:
  1. Identify the Problem or Need
  2. Understand the Current Situation/State
  3. Develop the Goal Statement - Develop the Target State
  4. Perform Root Cause Analysis
  5. Brainstorm/Determine Countermeasures
  6. Create Countermeasures Implementation Plan
  7. Check Results - Confirmation of Effect
  8. Update Standard Work
These steps follow the Deming PDCA cycle with steps #1 through #5 being the "Plan," step #6 being the "Do," step #7 being the "Check," and step #8 being the "Act."
 On the A3 template, the steps are typically laid out like this: 
A3 Form
Surprisingly, these steps and format look very much like templates created by U.S. companies in the '80s and '90s.
Ford Motor Company created an 8 1/2" x 11" 8D Problem Solving template:
Ford 8D 
Johnson Controls Inc., created a Problem Solving Document (PSD) which uses both sides of a form that folds to an 8 1/2"x11" size but is larger than tabloid size unfolded.
Johnson Controls PSD
If U.S. Companies had the templates and knowledge of the problem solving tools, why aren't US Companies better problem solvers?
The answer is that when most organizations start their Lean implementation they jump to using the Lean Tools. However, there are four components of a Lean implementation: Lean Planning, Lean Concepts, Lean Tools, and Lean Culture. All four of these components must be implemented in parallel. The Lean Tools are ineffective without the support of a developing Lean Culture.
Lean Components  The Four Components of Lean
This supporting Lean Culture is highlighted by how Toyota views problems:
  • Problems are seen as opportunities to improve their processes and ultimately their products
  • The people assigned to solving the problem view the assignment as an opportunity to improve their problem solving skills. They understand that they learn more and become a better problem solver each time they perform the process.  
In Toyota, no problem is a problem!
Compare this to how a typical U.S. company associate views problem solving. We view it as a "burden" or maybe even a punishment. We get through it so we can check it off our to-do list.
A3 is a structured and very useful Problem Solving template. To be successful this template must be supported by a Lean Culture that changes how we view problems. Otherwise, A3 Problem Solving will just join the list of "programs of the month." 
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Next Edition
  • Policy Deployment -- The Most Powerful Lean Activity Your Organization Will Ever Accomplish
  • The Lean Leader Coach Series Continues with "Employee Empowerment"
Larry Rubrich
WCM Associates LLC
2009 WCM Associates
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