How to create the leader standard work?

Create the leader standard work with the team.

The purpose of the leader standard work (LSW) is to build the behaviors to drive continuous improvement and Lean thinking throughout the organization.  Moreover, it ensures that leaders keep an eye on the important things.  This document provides clear expectations of leadership behaviors.  In other words, it contains what leadership needs to do for a successful continuous improvement transformation.  How do you create the leader standard work document?

Who needs leader standard work?

The continuous improvement culture transformation depends on three daily activities.  Those are the leader standard work, visual management, and daily accountability.  Therefore, LSW is critical for the success of the transformation.  

This document is not for top leadership only. This statement is true regardless of the industry.  Every leader, from top leadership, to managers, supervisors, to team leaders, can benefit from LSW.   

Required information for the leader’s standard work.

Before you start to create LSW, you will need to gather some vital information.  First, get the site vision, goals, and key performance indicators.  Second, make a list of requirements that are critical for your business.  For example, to comply with FDA or OSHA rules or special requirements from suppliers.  

Finally, get the site calendar and each person’s calendar.  Many companies have a list or calendar with all the periodic meetings for each leadership level.  If you do not have one, you can always build it.  The LSW for every people with the same role is similar.  However, they are not the same.  It is common not to have all kinds of meetings or activities on every shift.  Also, people may participate in special projects or events.

To create the leader standard work, start with the activities

Look at the vision, goals, and performance indicators.  Are they aligned?  If they are, what behaviors or practices are needed to achieve those goals?  Also, what do you need to do to ensure compliance with requirements?  The answer to those questions unlocks one critical piece for LSW.  They are the backbone of the document.  

Some examples of such activities are gemba walks and participation in the daily management system. The morning meeting or shift meeting using visual management is an integral part of this system.  Other activities to include on those periodic tasks are coaching, participation in continuous improvement events, schedule audits, and participation in shift handoff meetings.  Also, to monitor how LSW and other continuous improvement systems are working.  For instance, to verify compliance with standard work, watch the start-up, and participation in problem-solving sessions.  

Building the leader standard work.

One more step before building the LSW is to revise all those meetings.  Analyze the objective, duration, and frequency.  Ensure that the meeting objective or purpose aligns with the site vision and goals.  Moreover, check that the duration and frequency are the right ones.  Who knows, maybe you can eliminate or combine a couple of them.

Creating the LSW for each leadership level is a team exercise.  Get the team together for a brief explanation of what we want to do and why. Then go through all the steps together.  To build the LSW, put together the daily, weekly, and monthly activities and tasks in the desired format.