Learning is not a spectator sport

This Friday afternoon, Lean specialists gathered to dive deep into a discussion on Lean tools. On the surface this might appear to be the premise for a long (yawn) meeting, but in actuality it was a very immersive experience with hands-on learning.

Here’s the formula we used to take a complex topic and turn it into bite-sized pieces guaranteed to keep our participants engaged.

  1. Break it up: The tools overview consisted of 5 teach-backs covering process mapping, product routing analysis, product quantity analysis, area assessments, and a scan summary. The key is to have a different participant ‘teach’ (or explain in their own words) the value of the tool they were assigned. Let’s be honest, nobody is dozing off or texting when they are on-deck to teach next!
  2. Break it out: After the Lean tools teach-backs, the team was separated into 2 groups, and each group was assigned to a specific gemba (in our case, neighborhood coffee shops) to do process walks and make observations to apply the Lean tools. Afternoon caffeine anyone?
  3. Break it in: After observations (and of course some great coffee and pastries) the teams returned to the meeting room to debrief. Each person had an opportunity to talk about ‘a-ha’ moments or challenges with the tools, and get support from others on how to make adjustments for future improvements.

After a feedback session on the meeting structure, it was a wrap. Not a bad way to spend a few hours actively learning and improving.


-Terra Milles

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