Lead, Follow or Get Out Of The Way

Just do not interrupt or interfere even if it is with the best of intentions. Studies have shown that every time a person is interrupted while doing a task it can take them up to 22 minutes to get back into full concentration of the task.


Disruption robs your productivity.


Read all of Best Practices and all authors will quickly advise you that you need to spend time in the Gemba (where work is performed) ... but actually it is all about how you go to the Gemba.



For example, all Leaders will do a lap through the facility to see how things are performing and get data inputs just in case someone presents them with a question. So just imagine what the parade looks like ... the General Manager speaks to a Team Lead to inquire how it is going (a 22 minute disruption), then the Purchasing Manager speaks to the Team Lead to inquire how it is going (another 22 minutes disruption), then the Materials Manager speaks to the Team Lead to inquire how it is going (another 22 minutes disruption), followed by the Human Resource Manager speaks to the Team Lead to inquire how it is going (another 22 minutes disruption), and of course we should throw Maintenance into the parade route who also stops to speak to the Team Lead to inquire how it is going (another 22 minutes disruption), and of course Sales and/or Customer service speaks to the Team Lead to inquire how it is going (another 22 minutes disruption).


So hopefully you get the gist, all the leaders with great intentions are contributing to reducing productivity through their casual inquiries.


What is the answer? ... Stay away and let the teams find there groove and identify what is working well and identify potential "Disturbances to Flow". Assemble your entire team for one consolidated Report-Out to reflect on the previous 24 hours performance and expectations and potential concerns for the coming day. Ohhh and by the way your meeting should only take less than 5 minutes and needs to cover the topics of Health& Safety, Quality, Production and of course we should speak about Continuous Improvement.


Make it Visual


Visual allows things to become Big Bold and perhaps Ugly. It goes back to the 15 by 15 rule. Within 15 seconds from 15 meters (45 feet) you should be able to observe if a process is in control and producing at rate. Simple, no need to interrupt to ask how things are going ... you can also review the are TPM sheet to insure things are in compliance since TPM in our world has morphed to Total Productive Management ... where we go beyond Operator Self Checks and incorporate simple replenishments ... we really do not appreciate wanderitis


Lead then Get Out Of The Way


This article is not expound on the virtues of Leadership. As a Leader you are the pivot of success or failure to your organization. However, an important aspect of Leadership is just how much empowerment are you willing to grant the team members within your organization? The more latitude granted the less they need to seek you out.


Empowerment is freedom within limits ... those limits you need to define. Once defined Get Out Of The Way ... and let your Team perform.


Of course you need to track performance not only for your benefit but importantly that your Team can measure and celebrate success. This measurement should also reflect that your organization remains financially healthy and provides the Value your Customer is delighted to pay for.

We do more than just blog. We're active Lean practitioners who would love to help you achieve your productivity goals.