I cannot count the number of times when I thought I knew… or was sure… how something transpired. “The employees are taking shortcuts…” Or you may have many other preconceived notions. I am sure if you have ever been in a problem solving event – many people have the real root cause even before the process has been investigated. The power of any investigation is to actually go to the scene of the crime, or where the action takes place (or took place). The Japanese term, modernized, is Gemba.
The embarrassing part is that I can recall many articles, events and stories that I have been made aware of where the employees were never talked to. No 5W+H (who, what, when, where, why and how) was ever taken from the employee perspective. The facts though are made much clearer by actually going to the place where the action is happening. There is a reason, good or not, why things happened the way that they did. I also believe, from my experience, that people do the best with what they have and the most with what they know. Poor decisions are often result of inadequate tools, work environments or lack of training – not from deliberate attempts to “stick it to the man.” As hard as it may be to swallow, management often has a part of the problem, and it is not noticed until much later when we see symptoms. The root either grows, or the branches spread making it much more visible.
As you begin to form your hypothesis, involve team members from diverse areas including the actual people performing the work. Then go to the floor and see it for yourself; boots on the ground.
- 7 Steps for Leading Lean with Respect for People (industryweek.com)
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Business, gemba, genba, hypothesis, Investigation, MBWA, problem solving, Root cause
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