| The Lean Leader Coach Series -
"Employee Empowerment" Part II
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 the most challenging element of empowering your workforce. Empowerment is not something we bestow. It is something associates choose because they want to be empowered and they are committed to making it happen. It is a personal decision that indicates trust in the leadership team or representative. In order for this to happen, individual managers must make their own personal commitment to change their behavior so the workforce feels safe in choosing to be empowered. Deep change within an organization (long-term, sustainable behavioral changes on the part of the workforce) must start with the leadership team changing their own behaviors specifically to model and reinforce empowerment.
Many times, management team members have complained to WCM that they want their workforce to be empowered, they have told the workforce they are empowered, yet nothing changes. Associates still look to the management team to make all the decisions and give all the answers. The frustration on the part of the leadership team is intense.
In this case, there is a reason why empowerment does not occur. When leaders remain actively involved in the day-to-day running of the business (meaning they make all the decisions and expect people to obtain approval before taking any action), then they have failed to demonstrate a behavioral change. The workforce understands they are NOT empowered despite protestations to the contrary. In this situation, the leader does not have the time to work on creating an empowered environment since they are so busy conducting business as usual.
The only way for the leader to demonstrate a behavioral change is first to accept empowerment himself. That's right. You, the leader, must choose to be empowered. Do you have the courage to make decisions and take action without pre-approval? If a leader does not feel empowered, how can that leader feel comfortable letting go of the control that is necessary for empowerment to occur in the rest of the workforce? If a supervisor or manager feels their decisions will be second-guessed or over-ridden, they may not make decisions at all or choose only to make decisions that have been previously "approved." The workforce will see this and behave in exactly the same way. The leader's own mindset and behavior will determine the mindset and behavior of their followers. An attitude of "do as I say, not as I do" will not create and empowered environment.
For most organizations, this is where the empowerment initiative stops. It is so much easier to point out the changes others need to make than to look in the mirror and make that same assessment. So before we go further, I invite you to do just that. Ask yourself what you could be doing that sends a message of non-empowerment. Do you micro-manage, withhold critical information, approve all decisions? Do you feel empowered or does your boss micro-manage, withhold information and approve all decisions? This is a great discussion for the leadership team to have as a group. In our next installment, we will explore ways to create an empowered environment for the rest of the workforce.
Free On-Site Policy Deployment Seminar
We will come to your location to present a 2-hour Introduction to Policy Deployment to your Leadership Team and selected team members.
For questions or scheduling, call Kelly at (260) 637-8064 or e-mail email@example.com
Certified Lean Facilitator Training (Administrative/Service)
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.
Session dates are:
Week 1 - March 22, 2010
Week 2 - April 19, 2010
Value Stream Mapping -- Guidelines and Rules to Making Your VSM Event Successful
|Value Stream Mapping is the most misused of all tools in the Lean toolbox. We draw a Current State Map, then we think "poof!" - something magic will happen! |
by Larry Rubrich
Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is the only Lean tool that will not eliminate waste - its sole purpose is to help organizations identify the waste that is preventing them from reaching their organizational goals. Once the waste is identified, the appropriate waste elimination Lean tool can be pulled from the toolbox and deployed to eliminate the waste.
Value Stream Mapping creates a one page picture (although it may be a very large page and take up several walls in a training room) of a process, identifying all the steps, sequence, touches, and times. Some organizations start by mapping the "system cycle time"-- from the time a customer requests a product or service to the time the customer receives a completed product or service. VSM is most effective at identifying how to improve system efficiency.
Use a VSM Checklist to help you prepare for the event (if you don't have one, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you one). From our checklist, here are some items of particular importance:
- Determine resources needed to support customers during the event. The VSM Event must be transparent to our customers.
- Communicate with the entire facility about the upcoming event. Make sure that everyone knows.
- Communicate with the worksite/process supervisor(s) (and others who will be impacted) about the event and its objectives. This is a face-to-face meeting, not a memo, an e-mail, or a voice mail.
- Advise the team members who work in the project area/process about the upcoming event -- again, face-to-face. (Note: Let these people know that their and their fellow workers input is crucial while the team is evaluating and changing their process.)
- Arrange lunches for each training day. Invite process decision makers/managers to lunch each day as a way of reviewing VSM direction, ideas, and progress. This prevents any surprise management concerns/objections at the "Event Report Out."
- Determine who will be invited to the Event Report Out on the last day of the event. On day one of the event, notify these individuals of the date, time, and location of the report out even though you may make minor adjustments in the actual starting time on the day before (or morning of) the Report Out.
VSM Event Team Leader Selection Guidelines
- Chosen by the VSM Team itself (must be a member of the team - cannot be the Certified Lean Facilitator)
- Show team the Team Leader responsibilities
- Secret ballot vote on the last day of the VSM (before the Action Plan is started)
Assuming you are using a Certified Lean Facilitator (CLF) to do the VSM training and support the drawing of the maps, the VSM team team should be allowed to select their own team leader. The rationale is simple, the team will easily take direction from the leader they selected. Since the CLF will handle leadership issues during the event, the Team Leader is selected on the morning of the last day, because their responsibilities really start with the creation of the "Action Plan. This additional time (from day one to the morning of the last day) also gives team members an opportunity to evaluate the performance of members of the team they do not know very well.
Team Leader Responsibilities
- Make assignments
- Perform as full team member
- Obtain participation from everyone
- Act as a point of contact (for other teams and the organization's Leadership Team)
- Insure team activities are coordinated (no two teams working on the same thing)
- Offer team members help without taking responsibility
- Disbands team (with celebration) when all open action items are completed
The Four Steps to Value Stream Mapping are:
1) Pick the product, product family, service, production or administrative process to map (improve). An improvement goal(s) is required.
2) Create the "Current State" VSM.
3) Create the "Future State" VSM. This map must meet the goal(s) established in step #1 above.
4) Develop an action plan to make the FSVSM the CSVSM.
Step #1 - Criteria for Goal Selection
A) From Policy Deployment
B) A "new" or a change in a customer requirement or business conditions. (VSM's are best at lead-time reductions.)
Anything after "B" qualifies as random! (Remember Policy Deployment requires no other Lean activities)
Remember all goals must be SMART goals! Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time dimensioned.
Step #2 - Do not forget about the Office/Information Product Leadtime
Wrong -- No Information Product Leadtime Accounted For
Step #3 - The Future State Map must meet the goals established in Step #1
- Identify all potential improvements (kaizen events) via "star bursts" and brainstorming.
- Normal brainstorming activity:
Focus/prioritize on "low cost" or "no cost" improvements that support step #1's goal(s).
Verify management support.
- The "Future State" VSM must meet the goal(s) established in step #1. Forcing the FSVSM to meet the goal generally requires "outside the box thinking".
If the initial FSVSM does not meet the goal(s) established in step #1, go further down the brainstorming "voted for" list or re-brainstorm.
Step #4 -Developing the Action Plan
- The responsibility for completing the Action Plan is always the VSM Team's - this responsibility is never handed-off.
- The accountable person from the VSM Event Team (the buck stops here) is the "Who." They can recruit other non-VSM Event associates to help do the implementation - but they are responsible.
- When is always the who's date (so we can hold them responsible), they are not given a date or time unless it is safety related.
- Team disbands, with celebration, when all open Action Items are completed.