Walk the Gemba.
Gemba walks denote the action of going to see the actual process, understand the work, ask questions, and learn. It is also known as one fundamental part of Lean management philosophy.
Leadership occurs at all levels.
In traditional organizations, that often means managers who are in a position of leadership but when I speak of leadership, I am referring to the act and intention of leadership regardless of official position or hierarchy.
Regardless of where you find yourself on the corporate ladder, if you are a leader, it is important to have compassion for the issues, the frustrations, and challenges that teams and teams of teams are facing.
One of the most valuable techniques for really understanding what is happening in the environment is called ‘walking the Gemba’. Walking to the point of value creation and walking to the point of value consumption.
What that means in practice is that leaders need to be meeting with teams, meeting with customers, and meeting with product stakeholders in an unofficial, unannounced capacity.
We want to be respectful of our teams, our customers, etc. but we are trying to fend off the potential for people to put on a show.
We want, instead, to arrive at the point of value creation and deeply understand what is happening in that environment, what issues the teams are facing, and what needs doing to empower the team.
We want to have respectful, valuable conversations with customers and end users that provide us with insight into what our customers most value and what their greatest pain points are. To understand how we, as leaders, can help the team delight customers and create value for end users.
Walking the Gemba means seeing the ‘ugly’ side of what is happening and developing a deep understanding of why things are happening the way they are. To inspect the raw data and operations with the intention of discovering how you can help the team or team of teams.
The more frequently you meet with teams, customers, product stakeholders and end users, you will grow and nurture greater trust within those environments.
People see that you are genuinely interested in demonstrating leadership and are actively participating in helping to create and deliver value, and they respect you a great deal for those interventions and assists.
It leads to greater customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and fulfilment within the working environment. It makes a great impact on the team and helps improve morale as well as fosters a sense of creativity and collaboration within the team environment.
So, walk the Gemba, and see how it transforms teams and customers for yourself.
John Coleman has deep experience and expertise working with executives, #leadership teams and product development teams to achieve increased #businessagility and create environments where creativity and collaboration produce high-performance teams.
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