We were in the last part of the day before the party parted. This is the standard way of ending a day's training at the Kaizen Institute. Well, perhaps not partying as in having a tipple but it is the time of a KAIZEN™ course where all participants will practice hansei (reflection) on the learning, what we could have done better and just to clarify whether we are all at the same party (or is that on the same page?)
Howbeit, on this specific occassion at an overseas client, we were pressed to finish on time as we had an intense day
of learning about Value Stream Mapping and applying it in their work environment. As we had a class of 18 participants, doing a proper hansei could have taken a looong time if we did not apply a bit of discipline. Hence the limitation of five sentences per participant was agreed upon to give some final thoughts. (This also helps to plan and formulate what needs to be said ("waste elimination") and gets us all back home before the moon rises!)
One enthusiastic participant really took Lean to the limits and gave us only four words as part of his concise reflection: "Gemba walk is king!" He was truly impressed by going to the production line during our training and having the opportunity to see the real work, the real problems and the real inefficiencies. It was an Eureka moment for him - learing to see so we can see to learn.
He is correct - going to gemba to observe the problems, waste and frustrations is the KAIZEN™ way to manage, to lead people, to engage staff, and to understand the challenges within the organisation. But going to gemba is more than this; it is to track whether we (management, our teams and individual employees) are on track to reaching our agreed objectives. It is being able to SEE (visual management) WITH our people where the gaps are in our organisation's performance to subsequently support and development our people to bridge these gaps. These gaps (wastes, losses, problems, etc.) are preventing your team from reaching your goals.
Start to think of ways you can implement this fundamental principle of KAIZEN™ and you might also exclaim: "Gemba walk is King!"