Managing to Learn: The Use of the A3 Management Process (2 Day Class)
Through instruction, small group discussions and exercises, the workshop participants will:
- Learn the basic formats of A3s and uses of the A3 as a management process
- Gain experience in the three basic roles of the A3 process (Author/Owner, Responder, Coach)
Where is YOUR organization?
When you hear A3, what comes to mind? A paper size, tool, or a process? Look at the diagram below. Where would your organization fall on this chart? Our observation is most people use A3s on special projects as a “report out” tool of the results. Although this provides the benefit of a quick summary it doesn’t begin to take advantage of the benefit of the A3 or of the A3 thinking process. Using an A3 as a report out tool is like using a smartphone exclusively for phone calls. Yes, you are getting some value, but only a fraction of what is possible.
As Jim Womack says, "The most basic definition of an A3 would be a P-D-C-A storyboard or report, reflecting Toyota's way of capturing the PDCA process on one sheet of paper. But the broader notion of the A3 as a process–embodying the way of thinking represented in the format–captures the heart of lean management. In this context, an A3 document structures effective and efficient dialogue that fosters understanding followed by the opportunity for deep agreement.” How often do you experience “deep agreement” in your team or organization? He goes, “It's a tool that engenders communication and dialogue in a manner that leads to good decisions, where the proposed countermeasures have a better chance of being effective because they are based on facts and data gathered at the place where the work is performed, from the people who perform it."
The purpose of this workshop is to explore the lessons and insights of Managing to Learn from four perspectives.
Note: each participant will receive a copy of Managing to Learn.
1. First, you’ll learn sound A3 thinking and management by following the stages of learning shared in Managing To Learn (MTL). MTL describes how a young manager learns to handle a significant problem-solving responsibility by creating an A3 that earns him the authority to address the problem in the ways he proposes. You’ll examine how the A3 changes with each revision, what the young manager has learned about the A3 thinking, the A3 process that he applies in each revision, and what the course of his development indicates about the deep problem-solving focus that characterizes lean thinking.
2. Next, you’ll get the chance to develop your own eyes and ears to recognize effective A3 stories. You’ll describe the problem-solving thinking that is required for each section of the A3 for the PDCA story it tells to be effective.
3. Then, you’ll create your own A3s. You’ll address real problems you’re already working on every day for this exercise. You’ll work in small groups to read, discuss, and evaluate each other's A3s. And then you’ll have the chance to coach each other, offering guidance on how to improve each other’s A3 stories.
4. Finally, you’ll learn various forms and uses of the A3 process. You’ll have examples from Managing to Learn to use as a guide. And you’ll explore the following:
- Basic types of A3 stories and how the format differs for each
- Role that A3 plays in the process for gaining alignment with the stakeholders in a problem situation and seeking their agreement to proceed with the countermeasures or improvements being proposed
- Ways that A3 functions as a change management tool, a general management tool, a human development tool and a knowledge sharing too
Who should attend:
- Any manager who wishes to improve his or her organization
- Any manager who wishes to lead and manage his or her organization more effectively
- Change agents, lean promotion office managers, and specialists
- HR and OD professionals who wish to seek more effective means to deeply improve the thinking, behavior, alignment, and performance of their organization and the people in it
- Senior executives who wish to improve their abilities to lead and manage
- Anyone who wishes to improve his or her critical lean thinking
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