Lean's New Buzzword: Leader Standard Work

reynald

Quite Involved in Discussions
#1
Anyone have heard of this yet?
It is claimed to be the standard work for leaders and includes things like going to the Gemba, doing mentoring/coaching, asking relevant questions, and the like.

Personally I hate it, as it dilutes the concept of standardized work (or standard methods) taken from Taylor's work and is taught in methods engineering classes of Industrial Engineering.

What's your take on this?
 
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Bev D

Heretical Statistician
Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
It is nothing more than the codification of what Toyota leaders do every day. we in the united states had to give it a name...

Why do you 'hate it'? Toyota uses it reinforce standard work and to enable continual improvement at all levels of the organization - how can that be 'hate' worthy?
 

reynald

Quite Involved in Discussions
#3
It's not the content/concept that I hate, but the way it is being packaged and sold. It looks to me that it is a part of core leadership and management tasks but were scoped down and put inside box, then sold as something "new" or "the missing link" to the Lean revolution.

I'm sure somewhere down the road I will again encounter some people and some executives who will declare their "expertise" in Lean and brag or demand about the need for "Leader Standard Work". Like how in the past people demand about the need to Total Quality Management or or Business Process Improvement.

Well my point is as far as my limited experience goes, using big words rarely aid in clarifying what needs to be done and usually just adds to the confusion at the execution level. And office politicians love big words. It sounds so intelligent and obvious few asks for details.

And then there is the question of, "Can leadership really be standardized?".


*************edit*************
I just realized "hate" must be a really strong word to use. Sorry but must be cultural thing for me to use it. A more accurate word should be "distaste".
 
Last edited:

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#4
In my experience many more companies brag about their embrace of lean than actually practice lean. So I am sure some will start using the this term as a substitute for leadership substance as they do so many other terms.

It's always much easier to say something than to do something. I have to laugh ruefully at my own company's use of so many lean terms, and how they brag to customers about their lean embrace, when what they are doing in reality behind the scenes is definitely not lean and definitely not helpful.

For example, leaders who "go to the gemba" only when they want to yell at or interrogate someone. Employees quickly learned to hide or flee when a "gemba walk" was going to take place. :nope:
 

Kiran Walimbe

Involved In Discussions
#6
While conducting training on ‘Global 8 D’ technique of problem solving, I emphasize upon the importance of Gemba visit. Can some one pl. share real life experiences, which could be used as Case studies.
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#7
Many companies today use the term gemba when they wanna be in-vogue and impress someone with their use of Japanese lean terminology. Similarly, they have muda, not waste, in their plant. :bonk: Early in my career I recall HP had an idea similar to gemba walks and someone started calling it MBWA -- managing by wandering around.

The simple fact is, whatever you call it, it is IMO essential for ALL leaders and managers and problem solvers at all levels to get their butts up out of their chairs and from behind their desks and get out to where the work is happening -- not just when there is a hot problem to be solved, but every %$#@ day if possible! Talk to the people doing the work. Ask their opinions. Ask for their help. Ask how their kids are doing in school. Ask if they need anything. Do this kinda "simple" stuff and magic happens. But apparently that is not taught to most MBA degree holders and/or "leaders" and "managers" today.

My entire career I spent time almost every day on the shop floor or where the work was being done. I could no more pick out one example for a case study than to pick out one meal I made as being worthy of a case study. Not getting out to where the work is being done and talking to the workers is IMO quite simply either laziness, stupidity, or ignorance.
 

Kiran Walimbe

Involved In Discussions
#8
Thanks Mike, for your frank post. However, a small correction; MBWA or Management by Walking Around / About is a cult suggested by Tom Peters (I think) and not a part of Japanese work culture. It, though, resembles Gemba culture.
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#9
Thanks Mike, for your frank post. However, a small correction; MBWA or Management by Walking Around / About is a cult suggested by Tom Peters (I think) and not a part of Japanese work culture. It, though, resembles Gemba culture.
It has nothing to do with a "cult" and, while Tom Peters mentions MBWA in his books, he will tell you he got it from studying HP. Look it up.....
 
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