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Getting to the Gemba

Getting to the GembaOver the last year I have been a regular attendee on the Business Improvement conference circuit, it is really great to get out of the bubble of your own workplace, your own specific customer issues, organizational politics and meet likeminded members of our community. I find that this time is never wasted and helps me refocus on what is important for my clients, like a mini Voice of the Customer exercise!

Time and again, similar themes were occurring; how to make the changes sustainable, how to engage senior leaders in the transformation, how to embed Leader Standard work in the organisation, and how to make a difference through Gemba Walks. The proposed solutions to these issues sounded something like this:

“Have you tried adjusting the KPIs to incentivise the workforce”
“Have you showed the Executives how other companies achieved significant benefits…”
“Did you try adjusting the structured calendar?”
“How about you change the questions on the Gemba Walk checklist?”

It struck me, that these solutions point us in the direction of the root cause. As a community we are wired to propose process solutions to problems, system adjustments to prevent non-compliance. When actually, more often than not, these are problems of human behavior.

I’ll freely admit to making the same mistakes in my own work with clients, and so I will not claim to be the expert in this field. This is why Firth Improvement has partnered with Tom Cassidy at Second Curve, to work with us and company Leadership teams to tackle these issues using behavioural change techniques. Tom is one of the UK’s leading Organisational, Behavioural, and Leadership coaches. Through Second Curve he helps companies with individual effectiveness, executive presence, communication through storytelling, and many other challenges.

In partnership we’ve developed a range of intra-company workshop-style courses that cover the challenges with Leader Standard work, Gemba Walks, and Leadership development. We had the pleasure of running a bytesized version of one of these courses at the recent Global Process Improvement and Operational Excellence conference in Amsterdam, if you want to know how it went, why don’t you see for yourself?


Luke Firth

All stories by: Luke Firth

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