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Leading in a Continuous Improvement Culture: Engaging and Coaching Problem Solving Thinkers (2 Day Class)

Are you a mid-level manager or leader in an organization that is focusing on employee engagement to develop a continuous improvement culture? Are you wondering how this new management environment will change your role and how you can contribute? Though it may not have been said, you are critical to the success of the transition to a continuous improvement culture.  

The New Problem Solving Role of the Mid-level Performance Improvement Leader: 

  • Use value-stream thinking to identify problems at process level that are affecting operational performance
  • Give employees responsibility for addressing the right process-level problems at the right places in the workflow
  • Model, teach and insist on Plan-Do-Check-Adjust problem solving based on grasp of the actual conditions of problems
  • Create fundamentally different relationships with employees and others that focus on coaching and developing their problem solving capability

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. 

This workshop is ideal for middle managers, first-line supervisors, process owners, project team leaders and internal consultants, coordinators and coaches in organizations working to develop continuous improvement cultures. It will also help those responsible for developing lean/CI leaders in their companies.


Key Topics and Skill Building Activities: Day One 

  • Conditions in a management environment that enable and encourage continuous improvement and problem solving by employees
  • How managers can facilitate continuous improvement by employees by being performance improvement leaders
  • The type of problem solving that is essential for creating and sustaining a continuous improvement culture
  • How to engage employees by deploying meaningful problem solving responsibility 

Key Topics and Skill Building Activities: Day Two 

  • Most important ways leaders can show respect for employees
  • How to talk with employees in ways that engage their problem solving thinking
  • The difference between coaching for correction and coaching for development of problem solving capability
  • How to coach by asking and listening rather than telling 

The content of the program will be based on experience at Toyota Motor North America and years of supporting other companies in their efforts to create continuous improvement cultures. Instructional methods will include description of the key functions in the new problem solving role of the continuous improvement leader, illustration and discussion of the thinking behind the functions, demonstration of needed skills and tactics, exercises to practice use of said skills and tactics, and feedback and reflection on participants’ performance and experience in the exercises.

Recommended Readings:

John Shook, Managing to Learn: Using the A3 management process to solve problems, gain agreement, mentor, and lead. Lean Enterprise Institute, 2010

Tracey Richardson and Ernie Richardson, The Toyota Engagement Equation, McGraw-Hill Education, 2017

David Verble: Leaders' Actions Speak but Their Talk Matters Too, The Lean Post at lean.org, June 20, 2017, 



Workshop Suggestion:
To maximize your learning experience we recommend that prior to attending this program you take following workshop or have a good understanding of the concepts presented within it.
Suggested Reading for this Workshop:
This program is offered at customer facilities only, as an on-site workshop. If you have any questions or want to bring this workshop to your organization, please contact us at info@lean.org or 617.871.2900.