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David Verble

David Verble

Lean Transformations Group

David has been a performance improvement consultant and leadership coach since 2000. Prior to that, he worked for Toyota in North America for 14 years, first as an internal change agent and later as a manager of human resource development at the plant and North American levels. He has been on the workshop faculty of the Lean Enterprise Institute for eleven years and has done presentations and workshops to support a number of the LEI affiliates in the Lean Global Network. David has worked with clients in manufacturing, healthcare, finance, and higher education in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. His work focuses on supporting clients in process improvement, development of lean management systems and practices, strategic thinking and problem solving, and leadership coaching for managers and executives.  David is a partner in the Lean Transformations Group and is based in Lexington, KY, where he works through Verble, Worth & Verble.

Articles by David Verble
Real Respect Feels Like Knowing You've Been Heard
Showing respect by actively listening to others--being present in mind and body, consciously attending to what is said, connecting with the person not just the words--are all deeply anchored in core lean values, says David Verble. More »
How to Breakdown a Complex Challenge for A3 Problem-solving
At some point, every lean practitioner struggles with a problem that seems too complex to put the problem statement, analysis, and corrective actions on the single 11-by-17 inch sheet of paper that is the hallmark of the A3 problem-solving process. The solution is to tackle the social side of problem-solving before the technical side. Here's what you need to know from David Verble, who has 30 years' experience using A3 reports and teaching others how to use them since he created the first A3 training program for Toyota North America. More »
Why A3 Thinking is the Ideal Problem-Solving Method
How A3 Thinking helps you overcome the most challenging yet vital part of problem-solving, according to Lean Coach David Verble. More »
Tips for Following Through on Improvement Plan Execution
There is a critical difference between follow-through and follow-up during the A3 problem-solving process as David Verble, a veteran lean management coach with 30+ years of hands-on experience with A3s, explains. More »
How Cascading A3s Deploy Responsibility to Think as Well as Assign KPIs
During a recent virtual workshop on how to use the A3 problem-solving methodology, a CEO asked how to cascade A3s down through every level of the company to link specific initiatives and strategic goals. Below is the answer from workshop instructor David Verble, during a follow-up conversation with the CEO and the company’s organizational development vice president. More »
How to Make Your Planning Process More Effective
Learn why Toyota's planning process is much more effective than traditional approaches used by North American companies. David Verble shares what he learned working at Toyota. More »
No Standard, No Problem? Not Really. It’s a Big Problem
Learn why the A3 is more than a problem-solving tool, and why it's critical to leading change. More »
Dueling Methods: 8D and A3
One of the scores of questions sent in by attendees at our recent webinar on the A3 problem-solving process was what's the difference between it and the 8Ds. Webinar presenter and continuous improvement coach David Verble explains. More »
PDCA Is Really CA-PDCA -- and It’s the CA that Makes the PD Work
Why Grasping the Actual Conditions (firsthand as an automatic practice) at the beginning, during, and after a problem-solving effort is the most important part of the process. More »
The Real Secret to Success with the A3 Process: It is as Much a Social Process as a Technical Problem-solving One
Part one of a seven-part series. Learn how the A3 process is about more than problem-solving, along with the other facets of the practice that you should understand. Check back every two weeks for the next article in the series. More »
Talking About Lean: How Leaders Support Improvement With Words and Actions
In this comprehensive series of reflections, Lean Coach David Verble examines how the way managers and leaders talk to employees (and to each other) can contribute or be a barrier to, creating and sustaining a culture of engagement and continuous improvement. He explores healthy ways that managers can mindfully observe and improve how they lead employees. More »
Show Respect, Psychological Safety, and Social Neuroscience
Mike Orzen and David Verble examine the meaning and lean relevance of showing respect, creating psychological safety, and the links between these two. More »
Be a Better Coach; Learn to “Force” Reflection Part 2: Forcing Managers and Execs to Reflect
Most of the people on your team don’t learn from practicing continuous improvement. The reason is that their brains are programmed by nature to skip the most important part of the PDCA method– reflection. It’s so important that you have to “force” people to reflect, according to David Verble, who learned to coach as a Toyota HR manager. In this two-part story, he shows you want to do and what to say to force reflection. More »
Be a Better Coach; Learn to “Force” Reflection, Part 1
Most of the people on your team don’t learn from practicing continuous improvement. The reason is that their brains are programmed by nature to skip the most important part of the PDCA method– reflection. It’s so important that you have to “force” people to reflect, according to David Verble, who learned to coach as a Toyota HR manager. In this two-part story, he shows you want to do and what to say to force reflection. More »
Real Respect Feels Like Knowing You’re Being Heard
"A simple fact of human nature: we listen all the time but we seldom pay real attention to what we are hearing," writes David Verble. And that's a problem in lean, because nothing demonstrates respect more than listening to your people. Inspired by his experiences working with Fujio Cho, David shares some tips for showing respect as a listener. More »
Want to Be a Better Leader and Coach? Listen to Yourself
In the third installment in his series on the importance of proper communication from managers to their employees, David Verble shares "a simple way that managers and leaders – and you, lean coordinators and coaches – can get a sense of how your words and the way they are delivered 'land' with others.  " More »
Manager-Employee Communication: What Neuroscience Tells Us
In yesterday's Post, David Verble introduced us to the importance of proper, tactful communication from leaders to employees. Today he delves a bit deeper into the topic, focusing on the neuroscience behind this critical element of lean organizations. More »
Leaders’ Actions Speak but Their Talk Matters Too
"Many organizations are investing in lean continuous improvement programs, systems and staff," writes David Verble. "Frequently there are critical pieces missing in these initiatives, however.  " And one of the most critical is an understanding by managers of how their talk impacts employees. Read more. More »
Advice from the Gemba: How Do People Accidentally Make Change Unsustainable?
The only thing tougher than change is SUSTAINING change, we often hear. But does sustaining change need to be SO hard? Is it naturally and universally borderline impossible? Or is it possible that we, as humans, accidentally make sustainability harder than it has to be? Four LEI faculty members weigh in with their thoughts. More »
Practical Guidance for Using Humble Inquiry in PDCA Problem Solving and Coaching
David Verble, a Toyota veteran and LEI faculty member, explains to lean coaches and continuous improvement professionals why "Humble Inquiry" is a core problem-solving skill and how to start using it. More »
Hazards at the Huddle Board: Away From Fast Thinking, Toward Disciplined PDCA
As more companies use the huddle board approach for continuous improvement, people need to be aware of the pitfalls involved. “Often what’s picked up as a problem may be a nuisance or an inconvenience," says David Verble. "There is an attempt to make a general link between these problems and the priorities of the company.  " More »
The Messenger is As Important as the Message
What do people look for in a change agent that will help them be more open to the risky business of letting go of something they know (even if it does not serve them perfectly) and adapting themselves to new requirements and conditions? More »
How Wrong Assumptions about PDCA Problem Solving Destroy the Effectiveness of Lean Coaches
Problem solving based on the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle is very different from what we typically call problem solving. Here's why, according to lean coaching expert David Verble, who provides some important tips on how to improve as a lean/ continuous improvement coach. More »
How a Problem-Solving Culture Takes Root
Changing one's own leadership behaviors is no easy task, but it can be done. Leaders can shift away from giving top-down commands and solutions to a more engaging and collaborative way of addressing problems that both gets results and develops people. More »
Lean Coaching: Helpful Coaching is in the Eye of the Customer
In this free webinar by Lean Frontiers, LEI faculty member David Verble helps you apply a customer-supplier relationship to coaching someone. For example, he asks how often do you listen to the voice-of-the-customer after sharing your ideas by asking the person being coached if his or her needs were met. Learn more from David Verble about being a mentor and your other roles in creating a learning environment. Check the dates for the workshop Developing People with Capability for Lean.    More »
Helpful Coaching? Part One: Who Says What’s Helpful?
David Verble, a lean practitioner and Lean Enterprise Institute faculty member, offers advice for what kind of coaching is helpful for people with problem solving responsibility -- and what isn't. More »
What Exactly Is The Problem You Are Trying To Address?
A3 coach David Verble asks a key question about getting started: do you know exactly what problem you are trying to address? And he shares why having a questioning mind engenders productive A3 work.    More »
Workshops Taught by David Verble
Advanced Techniques for Humble Inquiry Questioning Specifically, Step 3, Skills to Coach for Development: Advanced Techniques for Humble Inquiry Coaching will focus on two critical skills to help you ask the right question at the right time. First, you will discover techniques for increasing your awareness of the coachee and yourself as two people engaged in a purposeful discussion. Second, you will learn ways to pick up on where the coachee is in his or her problem-solving thinking and ask questions to help them look more deeply or move ahead as needed. Together these skills will greatly improve your effectiveness in helping others to develop their More »
Building Effective Coaching Relations This workshop explores the key aspects of a coaching relationship which focuses on helping others develop the problem solving capability required for implementing lean and building the culture of continuous improvement. More »
Change Agent Skills for Lean Implementation Leaders Learn how to lead others to and through implementation of lean change activities by persuasion, influence, demonstration, negotiation, and teaching. More »
Coaching in the Moment : Meeting the Challenges of Productive, and Respectful, Coaching on the Run Managers and leaders want to coach their employees. They know they need to help them improve their skills and improve their performance capabilities. Even knowing it will take some of the burden off them down the road, most managers and leaders struggle to find the time to coach and develop their employees. More »
Developing People with Capability for Lean Learn about a supportive management environment for lean performance. Explore the manger’s role in people development and responsibilities in creating a learning environment. Identify the perspectives, capabilities and behaviors required by the role and examine organizational systems and practices that support managers in carrying out their role to develop and sustain capability for performance in a lean operation. More »
Facilitating Reflection for Learning and Improvement This program will explore the nature and importance of reflection and give you opportunities to learn and practice the basic skills for leading the process of reflection. As with the other programs in the Skills for Coaching to Develop sequence, the focus will be on using humble inquiry questioning to facilitate others in reflecting. More »
Influence Skills for Lean/CI Leaders and Coaches This workshop is designed for lean leaders who wish to learn to better use their ability to personally influence and secure the approval, collaboration, and support to perform the work they are responsible for getting done. More »
Leading in a Continuous Improvement Culture: Engaging and Coaching Problem Solving Thinkers This program is designed to describe this new role you can play as a leader in a program solving culture. It will also introduce skills that will help you be effective in that role and give you opportunities to practice them. More »
Lessons in A3 Thinking: What Porter Learned in Managing to Learn Understand the work, thinking, and leadership behind the A3 process -- not only what goes into the storyboard boxes. More »
Managing to Learn Remotely: Developing Structured Problem-Solving and Leadership Skills Today’s unprecedented challenges require superior problem-solving skills from you and everyone you manage. More »
Managing to Learn: The Use of the A3 Management Process This workshop introduces the A3 management process and the way of thinking represented in the A3 format that capture the heart of lean management. Participants will be provided an overview of various forms and uses of the A3 format and will have an opportunity to create their own A3. Working in small groups, they will be able to read, discuss, and evaluate each another’s A3s. More »
Recognizing Effective PDCA Problem Solving This workshop will review the basic six-step PDCA process for investigating problems and deciding the most effective ways to eliminate them. It is intended to help leaders and coaches develop the listening and observation skills to recognize and model sound PDCA problem solving based on grasp of actual conditions. It will also prepare leaders to facilitate teams in PDCA thinking and coach employees to develop the skills to apply the process on their own. More »
Using Humble Inquiry Questioning in Coaching The purpose of this one-day workshop is to help lean leaders and change agents understand the importance of the role of the developmental coach in improving value-stream performance and develop the basic skills and perspectives to function effectively in that role. More »