The Army organization to which I belong offers daily complex and dynamic problems, and I cannot lie they lead me to firefighting and heroics more than it does to team building and lean operations. This is the exact stigma and bureaucratic chasm that I intend to alter and banish.
Let me try to help you visualize my gemba, the steps that will lead me to lean.
I was in an office with six other individuals and we were outside of the operations floor, the place where value is created and delivered. My predecessor sat in my seat so naturally I put my belongings and self in his habitat to absorb his presence, perspective and duties. I believe this is human nature when you replace someone or something and immediately fall in-line with the past. I will spare you the details but fast-forward to present day and let me tell you I’ve never felt so disconnected with what is going on around me than I did sitting in that office.
Brash decisions often reflect your instinct and mine was telling me I needed to be in the middle of the value creation and delivery. I moved my desk out of the office and created a space where everyone can see me and I can see them. My first day of sitting on the operations floor was multifaceted awkward, I looked out among everyone doing their part and caught the eye of a few. We exchanged glances then theirs hurried back to their keyboard with what I’m sure was nothing but confusion. “Why is he sitting out here, what did we do wrong?”
After the newness wore off people got used to me being in their domain and started to approach me, sometimes more than I expected. I welcome this exchange with open arms because this is the exact message I want to send, that I am here and you can come talk to me. I am in a leadership position so this is what makes the move so monumental and significant.
What has transpired is what I believe is more trust, of course transparency, support and possibly hope? As I sit in the middle of what makes our organization exist I believe heroics will settle and I can focus on how to eliminate muda and deliver the expeditious, exceptional and predictable service our customers ultimately deserve.
Put yourself out there and see what happens.