Most of us know the value of going to Gemba and few disputes that it’s the right thing to do. So why do so few Executives actually “Go to Gemba”?
The most common issue I hear is they don’t have time to “Go to Gemba”. There is some truth in that so here are a couple of potential countermeasures that will create time for leaders. Biggest item is to spend less time on e-mail. It’s a business killer complete with interruptions and distractions that break your train of thought. Instead, get out of the office and put away the BlackBerry or iPhone and spend time walking around actually talking to employees.
Not just idle chit chat but actually talking about the business. Learn what is actually happening, seek employee input, listen for obstacles preventing them from doing their job, and help them solve their problems in a way which is consistent with the values of the organization. Teach people to fish rather than just giving them a fish. Imagine the power behind that.
I’m often amazed by the synergistic effect between these two. The more time spent at Gemba, the more you know about what’s actually happening, so the less time you need to spend in meetings trying to figure out what’s going on, and the faster you’ll solve small problems before they become large business killers.