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Gemba Walks - A Management Process for Leading the Organization (1 Day Class)

"Gemba. What a wonderful word. The place---any place in any organization---where humans create value.  But how do we understand the gemba? And, more important, how do we make it a better place---one where we can create more value with less waste, variation, and overburden (also known, respectively, as muda, mura, and muri)?"

Jim Womack"The line manager's key work must be to continually solve problems end-to-end in primary and support processes for which they are given responsibility. 

Put simply: You need to transition from a staff conducting a [continuous improvement]

program to line managers routinely solving problems important to the organization, often with the technical assistance of the lean team"

Jim Womack
Gemba Walks


This opening paragraph of the Introduction of Jim Womack's latest book Gemba Walks is the starting point for a gemba-based learning experience designed to help participants better understand their role in creating lean thinking through lean management led by their own behavior in "taking a walk".

One of the core skills of lean practitioners at any level is an ability to apply - in a disciplined way - the scientific method of PDCA (plan-do-check-act) in order to solve organizational problems that affect the value-creating process. The reason we refer to the PDCA process as “scientific” is that it requires an in-depth understanding of the root causes of every problem which can only be achieved through direct observation of work processes and fact-based information that comes from people who work in these processes.

So let's stop analyzing numerous bits of data on our computer screens. Let's put on hold heated discussions about the best way to solve a problem that we've been having in a conference room for hours. Instead, let's go to the gemba and SEE what is going on there.

This workshop is designed to help you learn by doing. Not only will we discuss the skills, behaviors and processes that are essential for creating the lean management system. We will actually take a walk at the gemba in order to see how the work is performed and practice management behaviors that support continuous improvement through relentless problem solving.

Outline for the Program
Gemba Walks

  • First, let's take a walk and talk about what we see. Gemba walk followed by a debrief
  • What is the purpose of a gemba walk? Why take a walk?  What do we hope to accomplish?
  • What is the process of a gemba walk? How do we take a walk?  What are we looking for and why?
  • What are the people issues associated with a gemba walk? What does respect for people really mean?  Understanding and managing our impact. 
  • Basic Leadership/Management behavior and principles:
    • Go See, Ask Why, Show Respect - What these things really mean and how they factor into a gemba walk
    • Looking at and understanding process rather than just looking at results
    • Management as science and discipline rather than art
  • Develop a plan for our second gemba walk. Let's take another gemba walk and talk about what we see
  • Debrief on differences between our first and second walk
  • Lean leadership behaviors and methods
  • Modern versus Lean management. Thinking about our management systems and how they drive behavior, thinking and business results
  • What is the "work" and the added value of management?
    • Processes and tools/methods to accomplish the value-added of management
    • Understanding the "right" tool at the right level in the organization
  • Summary and Q&A

Who should attend:
Managers and executives who are responsible for value-creating or support processes in their organizations. Continuous improvement professionals who work with leaders and managers helping them move from conventional to lean management. It's highly desirable that operations and CI leaders team up to attend this workshop so they can continue supporting each other in their gemba walks once they return to their organizations.

Expected Outcomes:
Managers attending this workshop can expect to come away with a better understanding of how to see and understand the flow of work in their respective organizations.  The workshop will help them see beyond the obvious results to the underlying processes that produce those results with an eye to how to create more value with less waste.

Dave LaHote Dave LaHote
Faculty Member
Lean Enterprise Institute

Dave LaHote is a retired senior executive who is currently an educator and advisor to organizations making the lean leap. From 2006 to 2011, Dave served as the president, Lean Education, for the Lean Enterprise Institute in Cambridge, MA.

Dave came to LEI with over 35 years of experience in manufacturing and service companies. Dave ran business units in Parker Hannifin, Eaton, and Aeroquip-Vickers Corporation and previously held senior management positions in marketing, business development, and human resources. He is a "shop rat" having grown up in the family manufacturing business. In the early 1990's he was responsible for  lean implementation across a diverse $2 billion manufacturing company and began his long-term relationship with Jim Womack, founder and chairman of LEI.

Dave has taught executive education classes on a wide variety of lean manufacturing, strategy development and management topics. He is currently on the faculty of the University of Michigan's Lean Healthcare program and has been a part of Ohio State University's Masters in Operational Excellence program.

Dave holds a bachelor's degree in liberal arts and a master's degree in Organizational Development from Bowling Green State University

Dave Logozzo Dave Logozzo
Senior Advisor, Co-Learning Partners
Lean Enterprise Institute

Dave assists major organizations and individual leaders during their lean transformations and continuous improvement efforts through Co-Learning Partners, a program he launched in 2006 with LEI’s founding CEO, Jim Womack, PhD.

Previously, Dave was executive director, Engineering and Manufacturing Operations and Lean Enterprise for Delphi Corporation. He was responsible for the lean enterprise architecture and process for Delphi’s 200-plus manufacturing and technical centers worldwide. His 37 years with General Motors and Delphi included assignments in manufacturing, engineering, global business, and enterprise responsibilities.

Dave’s experience also includes production manager, chief engineer, international operations manager, and business leader of Delphi’s Exhaust Business, a major global integrated business line. His P&L responsibility included the various partnerships and ventures within the supply chain and implementing lean and flexible manufacturing modules in locations around the world. He led several programs and new product introductions to major automotive OEMs, including an innovative learning relationship on several launch initiatives with Toyota.

Dave has a bachelor's in mechanical engineering from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) and a master's in business administration from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College. His recognitions include being named a lifetime member of the Shingo Prize Academy and GM Fellow.

Ernie Richardson Ernie Richardson
Co-Owner, LEI Faculty
Teaching Lean Inc.

Ernie has 25 years of Manufacturing and Human Resources management experience which allows him to see the cultural dynamics from both functional areas of a company. He gained this experience at Toyota Motor Manufacturing where he grew from Team Leader, to Group Leader, to Assistance Manager on the manufacturing side. After which he moved to HR, assuming, at different times, responsibility for skill development programs, safety and medical management. As Acting Medical Director for Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Ernie was responsible for nine on-site medical clinics across Toyota North America (convenience care, full-primary care, and occupational care). He was also responsible for disability management (as describe above) North American wide. Ernie worked at IBM for 8 years before joining Toyota. Currently, Ernie shares his extensive experience with members of the lean community as a co-owner of Teaching Lean and a Faculty member of the Lean Enterprise Institute.

Suggested Reading for this Workshop:
Locations and Dates for Gemba Walks - A Management Process for Leading the Organization
April 26
W Seattle
Seattle, WA
Instructor: Ernie Richardson
Hotel Discount Available
Important Information About This Event & Location

We encourage you to make hotel accommodations early.

Price: $800.00 ($700.00 if the participant is taking 2 or more workshops at one location)
Price includes all participant materials, breakfast, lunch and snacks each day

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Cancelation Policy
Our workshops are designed to cater to a limited number of participants.  If you must cancel a workshop registration, you will be given a full refund up to four weeks before the workshop. A cancelation occuring within four weeks of the workshop will be subjected to a $350 cancelation fee.  Substitutions may be made at any time prior to the start of the workshop. To cancel a workshop registration, please call LEI at (617) 871-2900.