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Cultural transformation, lean thinking & people’s development

Achieve the cultural transformation from traditional to continuous improvement using lean thinking

One of the key elements for a successful cultural transformation from traditional to lean or continuous improvement is to change behaviors and beliefs.  The challenge is huge, in part because those behaviors and beliefs have been part of the company for a long time.  

The cultural transformation from traditional to lean

The company culture is the set of shared attitudes and practices that characterize an organization. Daily activities like decision making are influenced by the culture.  Further, the way people act, the values they shared, and how they respond to certain situations.  Also, it includes how people interact with each other and the work environment.  Things like the company vision, mission, and goals are the face of the culture.

In other words, culture determines or influences everything that happens in the business.  Therefore, to change practices it is necessary to transform the way people think and act.  The face of the company, the vision, mission, and goals have to reflect those new ways.  For instance, the shared values and leadership styles should mirror the new beliefs.  Lean thinking is what will drive those new behaviors.

Achieve cultural transformation using lean thinking 

The shift from traditional to continuous improvement or lean is one of the most challenging things during the cultural transformation.  Put simply, it is easier to change processes than people’s minds.  However, the only way to achieve the change is by adopting a new way to think and act.

People will learn new ways to approach the same problems and situations.  The first change is to learn how to identify value from the customer lenses.  The idea of thinking about how every action can affect the customer is mind blowing for many people.  However, once they know why, it makes sense.  The business goal is to provide the customer with the highest quality, in the shortest amount of time and at the lowest possible cost.  Then, focusing our actions on quality, cost, and delivery is the right way to conduct business.

The focus of the entire transformation is the people, your team.  A fundamental part is to care more about people’s motivations, viewpoints, and how to develop their skills.  Some of those skills include problem-solving, how to identify non-value-add steps, and the use of PDCA for improvements.  When you take care of your team, they take care of your customers.  And by doing that, your business performance improves.

People’s Development is fundamental

One of the most important steps in the cultural transformation roadmap is to design the programs for the people’s development.  Respect for humanity is at the core of lean thinking.  For that reason, this part of the transformation is fundamental for its success. 

Using a hands-on approach, the leaders will teach their teams how to use lean thinking.  Use every learning opportunity to develop new skills.  As a result, a team member would learn ways to solve problems and improve their work.  One step at a time, leaders will guide their groups to reach their potential.  They do that by giving them a purpose and showing how their work is tied to the company’s success.  Also, by providing performance and development plans to help them grow.  

Start with Why

Do you want to start your transformation journey with the right foot?  Then, start explaining why.  People need to know the reasons for such an undertaking.  Be honest, and clear about the motives and expectations.  Also, explain what is in it for them?  When you explain the new behaviors and way to do things, many will look at you with skepticism.  But also, many more will feel hope and will give it a try.  Make that try counts do what you say you would.  As a business owner or top leader, your job is to model those behaviors and show the new ways to do business.

Management responsibilities, what are they?

management responsibilities, what are they?

In one of my first classes of my master’s degree, I learned the management responsibilities or functions.  The professor indicated that management consist of four general obligations.  Those are planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.  However, the explanation failed to include the responsibilities of a leader from the continuous improvement lenses.

Planning as the number one responsibility

There is no doubt that planning is one of the most recognized functions of an entrepreneur or manager.  Planning should start with grasping the situation. Hence, define the problem or describe the desired state is the first step before start planning.  The following steps are to define the gap, create strategies, set objectives, and determine resources.  

In continuous improvement, planning entails the same things.  Perhaps, the method used is different because it involves people from different levels of the organization.  Strategy deployment addresses critical business needs by aligning goals, strategy and the company’s resources at all levels.  Moreover, it develops the skills and capabilities of the team.  It does so by engaging them to answer the question of how do we get there? Leaders guide their teams using their experience and PDCA.  The use of the PDCA cycle provides a framework to identify potential problems and countermeasures.  

Management responsibilities organizing and staffing

In a traditional enterprise, managers would design jobs, specify tasks, and allocate resources.  They would also create an organizational structure and set policies and procedures.  All that is still true in a continuous improvement environment.  However, there are a couple of differences in how to achieve those tasks.

In a CI culture, managers are also teachers.  Their main job is to develop themselves and develop their staff.  One way to do it is by teaching them how to manage the daily activities.  For instance, daily coordination activities, allocate resources, daily problem-solving, and standards creation.  Managers oversee and support supervisors and middle managers.  Support means teaching them how to do it and provide the resources.  It also means to listen to their concerns and help with high-level decisions.  Set them for success by establishing clear rules and limits, so they know when to escalate the problem or situation.

Leading and controlling, two more management responsibilities

While creating strategy, leaders set direction and provide a purpose.  Those tasks are critical to lead and motivate employees to accomplish organizational goals.  In addition, effective communication and clear rules to manage change and conflicts are also fundamental.  Some of those conflicts are related to employee performance.  In a traditional culture, controlling refers to measure performance and compare it to standards.  Also, this responsibility includes taking the appropriate steps as per the performance level.  That is recognition, salary increase, promotion, training, or a development plan to take care of weaknesses or inefficiencies.  

In a traditional setting, leading and controlling are seen as two different things, but in CI, they are part of one.  Leadership in a CI culture lead by example, teaching and coaching their staff while visiting the work area every day.  They motivate by providing learning experiences and challenging the team to be the best they can be.  Performance assessment is part of the development process.  However, it is focused on employee development, not a way to punish low performance.

What are the responsibilities of a manager, business owner, or entrepreneur?

Management’s job is to help the staff to do better by providing purpose and direction while supporting the daily activities.  In other words, managers should be servant leaders first, and everything else, second.

The daily activities should be the responsibility of the supervisors and their teams, including daily improvements.  Managers support their direct reports by listening and learning from them what help they need.  Then, they can allocate the resources, make high-level decisions, or remove barriers. 

When leadership does not respect their staff, it will command instructions and control their actions. In a continuous improvement culture, respect for humanity is a tenet.  Therefore, command and control are not a way to fulfill management responsibilities.  Most importantly, that behavior should be identified as non-acceptable and banned from the culture.

Develop your people first and motivate participation

develop your people

For a successful cultural change from traditional to continuous improvement, the CEO or company owner leads the way.  It does this by ensuring some actions are taken.  One of them is to develop your people first and motivate participation.

The mission of continuous improvement is to develop team skills.  Teaching and coaching the team to help them reach their maximum potential is a way to show respect.  Respect for the people is at the core of lean thinking.  Also, it is one of the top three characteristics of the right work environment for CI success.  

Develop your people

One of the lean thinking principles is that the people doing the work design it and solve their problems. The leaders guide the team by respectfully asking questions.  They teach them problem-solving and data analysis tools and support them in providing resources and removing roadblocks.  In other words, the leaders are now coaches, not bosses.  The most senior leader coach his or her team, while they do the same with their teams.  

To develop your people, start by giving them a purpose

Each one of your employees needs to know how their work affects the company’s bottom line.  Let them know how they contribute to achieving the company mission and vision.  That is to say, give them a purpose.  Learning new skills will be critical to fulfilling their part.

Link the company Vision and Mission statements to the continuous improvement activities.  For instance, link them to the company goals and objectives.  Continuous improvement is not a project. Instead, it is part of everybody’s daily work.   Therefore, participation in CI efforts and training should be part of the performance review program.  Ensure that these things are communicated, discussed, and explain to everybody.

Communicate the development plan and motivate participation

Build a team to work on tying together communication, training, participation, and employee’s performance.  The objective is to define and clarify responsibilities, set expectations, and incentivize participation.  This team is responsible for reviewing the job descriptions, performance system, and incentive program.  Also, they are in charge of creating a suggestion program.  

An important piece to motivate participation is training tailored to the company and industry.  A good trainer will design the training based on the audience and their preferred learning method.  Lean is about learning by doing.  In the process, it provides enough theory to support the hands-on activities.  

Peoples’ development and participation

A continuous improvement culture is a learning culture.  Learning by doing is one of its tenets.  Another one is to formulate theories for problem-solving or improvement.  Following the scientific method, those theories will need to be tested.  The success of this process (PDCA) lies in the understanding that it is ok to make mistakes.  It requires effective communication and trust between leadership and teams.  

The leadership team has to work with their leader to communicate, train, motivate and clarify alignment between objectives and actions.

 

Buy-in and support from leadership is key for changes

buy-in and support is key for cultural transformation from traditional to lean

The business owner or top leader leads the change in company culture from traditional to continuous improvement. However, to achieve it, he or she needs the buy-in and support of the leadership team. That condition is one of the key elements for the continuous improvement success.

How to gain the buy-in and support

The first step in this journey is to get the support of your leadership team.  Start explaining why the change is necessary.  Be honest and provide data to support your intention.  Also, communicate the purpose of the transformation.  What do you want to achieve?  Explain the process you will follow to achieve the goal.  

Be clear about the expectations through the journey.  Provide the team with a top-level explanation.  For example, explain expected behaviors, like showing respect, learning, and teaching new skills.  

These conversations are an excellent place to start modeling those behaviors.  For instance, show how to do active listening and be patient.  You and your team will go through the same learning experience.  It is ok not knowing and be vulnerable.  Your clarity and honesty regarding the reasons are a good selling point, but the best will be the fact that you will participate along with them on this journey.  It is much more difficult not to try to do something when the boss is willing to try first.

What is in it for them?

Present the team the benefits of a continuous improvement culture.  a couple of gains are more engaged employees and less turn-over rate.  A stable and motivated workforce means more brains thinking in solutions.  Therefore, leadership would have more time to engage in strategy rather than firefighting.  

Another benefit is creating a learning enterprise where the entire team works together to provide better services or products.  As a result, the company could grow to expand to new markets.  Another possibility is to offer new products or services.

But also talk about the challenges ahead.  Prepare the group to have setbacks and frustrations.  The continuous improvement journey is about changing behaviors and attitudes engrained in the company’s soul.  That task is not easy.  Neither is to learn and teach at the same time.  By doing this, leaders will feel vulnerable, and that is again everything they know.  But, if you are willing to do it, they should be as well.

Buy-in and support leads to collaboration

The journey to transformation starts with explaining the need to change.  As the top leader, you are responsible for aligning purpose, process, and people.    Your job is to provide clear information and answer questions.  Also, to listen, provide direction, teach, coach, and remove barriers.   

Remove barriers means provide resources and make high-level decisions.  Unfortunately, it also means letting go of those leaders who are not willing to change their behavior.  Of course, that would be the last alternative after trying to change their minds.

With a clarity of purpose, process, and intentions, the team should be ready to start working together in this adventure.  Share with them the key elements for a successful continuous improvement or lean implementation.  Those elements are building blocks for the new work environment.  For instance, knowing them from the beginning could help to understand the journey ahead.  

Time studies and continuous improvement

time studies and continuous improvement

From everything I learned while studying industrial engineering, time study is what I have to use the most.  Time studies and continuous improvement have always been part of my job. Early in my career, I use time studies to establish or update time standards.    Later on, when I started to learn and practice CI, time studies were part of the data collection process.  This time, the time study was a component of the process to define the problem under analysis.  

Numerous times in my career, I found well-intended people trying to do formal time studies as part of kaizen or continuous improvement activity.  There is no need to complicate your life.  Nevertheless, it is necessary to follow some basic rules to ensure satisfactory data collection.

Time studies and time standards

Time study or work measurement is a method to establish an allowed time to perform a given task.  Frederick Taylor envisioned industrial engineers using time and motion studies to determine the best way to do the job.  Standardized work and cycle time reduction are two more of Taylor’s innovations.  

While establishing a time standard, industrial engineers would use a detailed process to observe and analyze the method and measure time.  The standard calculation includes rating the operator’s performance and applying for allowances.   This type of time study seeks to establish a standard used for manufacturing cost and wage calculations.  They need to be specific and accurate.  The focus is on the process, looking to reduce the cycle and make it more efficient.

Time studies and continuous improvement

On the other hand, when using time studies in continuous improvement, you don’t need to rate performance or use allowances.  You are not trying to create a time standard.  The purpose is to see if the changes are moving the needle in the right direction.  The focus is on the operator and how to reduce his/her pain points.  How can you make the work easier and safer?  While doing that, you will reduce the cycle time, but that is not the priority.  

Although you won’t need to calculate a standard time at this point, you need good data.  For that, there are a few steps that you need to follow.  Talk with the operator who is completing the process.  Explain why you are there and clarify that you will measure the process, not the person.  Observe the process and ask questions to understand what he or she is doing.  Also, look at the flow of materials and/or the information and learned about the pain points. Your objective is to eliminate waste.

This preliminary work will help you to get familiar with the process.  Once you are familiar with it, you can divide it into general steps for further time measurement.  You to measure how long it takes to complete a process, before and after the improvements. 

Keep it simple

Learning is always better when you keep things simple.  Concepts that are too complicated may distract you from the real purpose of the exercise.  All you want to accomplish is to get data to compare if the proposed improvements reduce the cycle.  

There are many other ways to improve a process besides cycle reduction.  Focus on finding the waste within the process.  Then look for ways to eliminate or reduce it.  Waste reduction will reduce the cycle time while making the process easier, minimize errors, eliminate waiting times, and others. There are two key things for sustainable improvements.  First, you need participation from the team doing the work.  Nobody knows the process better than them.  Second, the focus of the improvement efforts is always the customers, internal and external.

How companies show they care?

how companies show they care about its employees

Ask any company leader what their most important asset is, and they will answer the same, their employees.  But is that true or just the convenient collective answer?  If it is true, then words are translated into daily actions.  Companies show they care about their employees with actions, not fancy statements or values hanging on the walls.  

The best way to show a company cares about its employees is to build a culture of respect, trust, inclusion, and collaboration.  That is an environment where all members feel valued and trust to share their ideas without fear. Moreover, it is a place where leaders listen and take time to know the person behind the position.  Also, leaders would take time to develop their skills and help them to reach their potential.

Some ways companies show they care

Although nothing beats those things, it will not hurt if companies offer good benefits.  Leaders and companies committed to making their team a priority take the time to put together an attractive benefits package.

We all heard regarding companies that provide food and snacks services for free, video games, ping-pong tables, and more.  Those perks sound nice but are they what their employees want? A different option is to take the time to know what their employees’ value or need to craft a nice set of benefits.

Ways to show you care about their well-being

It is quite common to offer wellness programs as part of the benefits.  Examples of those programs are on-site weight management, high blood pressure or diabetes clinics, and gym subscriptions.  Unfortunately, sometimes those are offered by companies that show no respect for their employees’ health.  Ensure that your company does not foster or accept attitudes and behaviors that create a toxic environment.  Also, promote adequate rest, ask your team to take their time off.

Align perks, culture, and values to create a positive environment that fosters creativity and well-being.  The following examples are ways to show that you care about the person behind the position.

  • Give new parents time to be home
  • Encourage healthy behaviors by providing options for healthy foods.  Revise what kind of snacks you offer in the vending machines.  Do they match your health message?
  • Promote doing exercise with internal tournaments of popular sports like basketball or baseball.
  • Advertise ways to relax during their breaks while encouraging learning and skills development.  For example, create a small library with magazines and books.  The library can be a corner with comfy chairs, adequate lighting, and a bookshelf.
  • Promote using stand-up desks or converters.
  • Create a walking path around the building for your employees to walk during their breaks.  If there is enough space, a small garden would be nice too!

Give back to the community

Another way to make your employees feel appreciated is by showing respect and care for their communities.  Once again, align these programs with your company values.  Above all, align them with your actions.  For instance, do not say your company cares about the environment and then dump toxic waste down the creek.

  • Encourage volunteerism with days off
  • Help them help the community by creating teams to participate in efforts to participate in non-profit activities.
  • Promote and actively participate in recycling efforts.
  • Team-up with local companies and provide discounts for buying solar panels or other types of sustainable energy.

When companies show they care, great things happen

Caring for your employees is a way to show respect.  Employee appreciation is the right thing to do.  Also, it is good for the business.  Employees that feel appreciated by their leaders are more engaged and productive.  When they perceive that they can grow professionally and build meaningful relationships, their job satisfaction will be higher.  Therefore, they will be willing to contribute to the well-being of the company.

Home office organization, how do you keep it?

home office organization

Are you still working from home? If the answer is yes, then it may be a challenge to keep your home office organized.  I published some tips to create a home office area that maximizes productivity.  Today, I will focus on how to set up equipment and materials to keep them organized.  With them will be easier to keep your home office organization.

Set in order to create and keep the home office organization

Following the second 5S steps, Set in Order, assign the best location for the equipment and materials you need.  The frequency of use and ease of access and return determine the best place.  Most used items go closer to the user.  For example, if you use different color pens or highlights frequently, keep them on top of the desk and not in a drawer.

If you are using the space as your home control center, keep clear boundaries between both worlds. That is to say, do not mix work or home documents in your files. As a general rule, home or personal items should go farther from your work area.

Take advantage of the walls to hang calendars, whiteboards, or task boards.  Also, you can use shelves to keep binders, books, or folder organizers.   Open shelves are always better than cabinets because you see at a glance where your items are.  Similarly, if you need boxes, use them clear to see through.

Use drawer organizers or containers to keep small items in place.  Organize your drawers or shelves into categories.  The following are examples of frequent classifications.  

  • printing and filing supplies – paper, folders, index pages, binders
  • writing – pens, pencils, markers, highlighters, note pads, sticky notes
  • mailing supplies – envelopes, labels, stamps
  • tools – scissors, rulers, staple, staples remover, hole puncher

Use visual management to signal when something needs your attention

To manage your time better, you would like to minimize the searching time.  Therefore, it is a good idea to use labels or color-coding.  If you use cabinets or boxes to file or keep materials, label them to know what is inside.  If it is necessary to keep files at home, classify them.  For example, some divisions are budget, marketing, and inventory.  After that, establish a different color for each category.

The space you use as a home office is prime.  Maximize its use by avoiding excess office supplies inventory.  One way to do that is by creating inventory rules.  First, you set minimum and maximum levels for each item.  Then, mark the inventory limits to make them visible.   For example, use color paper to signal when you need more paper.  When you open the new rem, put a red or orange sheet at the appropriate height.  Once you take a bunch containing your mark, it is time to buy more.

When other family members are at home during your working hours, you need a system to communicate your availability.  To avoid interruptions, create signage to inform your status.  For example, that you are busy in a phone call or video conference.  You can use color-coding here too!  One sign that does not need explanation is the traffic light analogy.  Use green to signal that it is ok to knock on the door and yellow to inform that you are busy.  If it is red, it means that you are on a conference call.  Like with any other signage, communicate the purpose and meaning.

In conclusion, working from home requires the same organization and time management skills as working in the office.  The challenge is that the space is not off-limits to other members of the family. To keep the organization, you need to establish systems to identify at a glance and correct when something is out of place.  

How to collaborate, learn and motivate others to work with you.

how to collaborate

Businesses cannot survive or be successful unless their teams collaborate.  Entrepreneurs and business leaders know that.  For that reason, they are seeking to hire candidates with collaboration skills.  Learning how to collaborate and motivate others to work with you is then a critical skill to develop. Also, many of them are working on being examples of how to collaborate.

Learn how to collaborate, start with this.

People are more receptive to work with you when they feel valued.  Therefore, the first step for collaboration is to build connections.  You don’t have to be friends with the people you are working with.  However, cultivating personal connections, help to improve teamwork.  Take time to know the person, their interests, pain points, concerns, and what they value.    All that information will help you with two things.  

First, you would be able to identify who’s who in the workplace.  For example, you will see who you can influence, who can influence others, who are eager to learn and do new things, or not.  Also, you will know with whom you need to invest more time and effort to motivate.

Second, while you learn their pain points and interests, you will identify the best fit for future projects.  People are willing to participate in activities where they see some value for themselves.  Therefore, you are connecting with them and knowing who can help you in the future.

Guide for effective collaboration

When you are presenting an idea or a new initiative, be clear about it.  Above all, be honest, talk about the challenges, benefits, and risks.  Most importantly, answer the question, what’s in it for me?  Learning how to convey your suggestion or solution is critical.  The process consists of alternating between talking and listening.

Allow people to digest the information, give them time to ask questions, and present their views. Before you try to convince people to change their mind, take time to listen.  Use active listening to understand, not to criticize.  You would be able to influence people if they feel that you are genuinely trying to understand them. Show that you value their opinion.  

Do not interrupt, but when you have a chance, ask open-ended questions.  With them, people are prompt to give more details.  Finally, enhance their propositions, try to build upon other people’s ideas.  

How you learn to collaborate

You can learn how to collaborate by watching how others do it and practicing yourself.  When you practice how to collaborate, you will find the challenges associated with it.  For instance, you will feel how difficult it is to concentrate on what other people are saying.  Shut off your thoughts and focus on somebody else’s words is not easy.

Sometimes, it is easy to feel anxious and try to convince people that they are wrong.  But, when you feel that urgency, it is time to breathe and listen.  Listen to what others have to say with the intention of understanding and not judging.  Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes helps to grasp their feelings and emotions.  Therefore, you will gain a better understanding of their whys.

Regardless of your experience, your idea may not be the best.  Collaboration is the simple act that makes teams effective.  It is also a tool to boost creativity and respectful debates that will prompt better ideas.  With effective collaboration, people will feel motivated to participate and support your initiatives.  

Collaboration and continuous improvement

collaboration and continuous improvement

Collaboration is when two or more people work together toward shared goals.  It is the vehicle that conveys the success of a business. Also, it is what makes possible a successful culture transformation from traditional to continuous improvement.  Being so crucial, you would expect entrepreneurs and c-suite leadership to treat it with the criticality it deserves.  Like most things in life, you can learn how to collaborate.  Therefore, this skill should be part of what you model and teach to your team.  

There are two pieces of this story.  One is how you motivate colleagues to support your ideas, and the other is how to teach collaboration.  Let me tackle the first one today and the second on my next post.

Learning collaboration

I started my career working in a research & development department.  The department would be successful, only if it works in collaboration with everybody else.  For that reason, since day one, my boss makes a point of teaching me how to do it.  Moreover, she modeled the behavior.

Present your ideas and listen 

The first step is to communicate your initiative or ideas with clarity.  Clear and effective communication minimizes confusion.  Be honest about your intentions and present them subjectively.  In other words, talk about the benefits, challenges, and risks. Present the facts, show data if you have it.

Secondly, let people express their concerns.  While they talk, you should listen.  Active listening occurs when you suppress the need to dominate the conversation or provide ways to solve problems.  Instead, you listen and focus on the speaker.  Notice the speaker’s body language, tone, and emotions while it speaks.  Understanding how he/she feels helps to recognize the implications of the words.  As a result, the communication would flow better.  

For better collaboration, assume positive intent and switch between being a leader and a follower. 

Further, practice positive intent.  Assume that people want to do the right thing.  That they are as invested in the company success as you are.  It is easier to be receptive when you come into a discussion with that positive thought.    

When you are a leader, regardless of rank or title, you are used to making decisions and give orders. Accept criticism is not easy, especially if it comes from your team or colleagues.  But for successful collaboration, you need to learn how to accept feedback.  Sometimes you have to listen and follow, while others you talk and lead.  

Nevertheless, for the team is not easy to receive feedback either.   Clear and effective communication is essential for accepting criticism.  Explain why feedback is important.  If you notice aversion, ask why and address the situation.  While giving feedback, be specific and direct.  For instance, provide examples.

Summary

Leadership support and modeling of those behaviors that enable collaboration are vital for its success.  If leaders are not capable or willing to collaborate, their teams will not do it either.  To promote team collaboration, leaders should practice mentoring and coaching.  Also, collaboration as a skill should be a key part of some human resources activities.  Some of those activities are hiring, promotions, and selection for further training.  

Anywhere more than one person works, the collaboration will be imperative to achieve desired results.  Therefore, modeling and enforcing it will be a crucial part of the continuous improvement transformation.  The way each team member reacts while working together is also critical.    But that is the subject of the next post.

What are the key roles for successful kaizen?

continuous improvement or kaizen event

Planning and executing a continuous improvement event is a team activity.  The team participating in the event is vital for its success.  But there are other equally critical key roles.  These roles are executive sponsor, value-stream manager, facilitator, event coordinator, and team-leader.  Let’s see the responsibilities of each one.

Key roles for direction and support

The executive sponsor is typically a C-suite leader, vice-president, senior leader, general manager, or plant manager.  His/her job is to provide direction and support to the event.  For instance, the sponsor will talk at the beginning of the event to clarify that a successful activity is necessary for company performance.  Moreover, the achievements of this type of exercise will not risk anyone’s job.

Frequently, the value-stream manager is a vice-president, director, or middle manager.  It is someone that has the authority to approve policy-related changes.  In addition, he or she has the power to approve improvements that can impact regulatory, financial, safety, or a critical process. The value-stream manager works with the event coordinator and participates in the planning and preparation stages.  Another duty is to communicate complete support to the event and the team.  Above all, should be present during the event ready to answer questions and remove barriers.

Key roles for planning

The event coordinator is responsible for the logistics of the event.  For example, coordinate the event date(s), reserve the room, and send out invitations.  Another task is to ensure that all necessary equipment and materials are available.  The coordinator is part of the team whose responsibility is to identify the best team members.  The other people responsible for this task are the value-stream manager and the HR manager.

Event Execution Roles

The facilitator is responsible for leading the event.  Sometimes, the event coordinator and the facilitator are the same people.  This situation is typical when the company has a seasoned staff in CI matters.  The facilitator participates in planning, team selection, and event logistics.  Also, it is part of the follow-up and post-event reflection.

In general, the team leader is the team member with the most knowledge in the process.  This position may not be necessary if the event is led by an internal facilitator.  But, if the facilitator is a consultant or external resource, the team leader is an advisor.  The facilitator will ask this person for advice or help when needed. 

External help for your kaizen event

If you are starting and have never done an event, you may want to hire an outside professional as your facilitator.  The objective of a good external facilitator is to help you to become a skilled facilitator and coordinator.  A good consultant will work with all the key roles in the planning, event execution, implementation, and follow-up of the event.  He or she will teach each member how to fulfill their role successfully.  Also, will let all key roles member to do their tasks while coaching them.  

Are you ready for your first continuous improvement event?  If you have doubts or need help to start your improvement journey, call Better Process Solutions.  We can help!