leadership rounds

5 Steps to Effective Leadership Rounding

Posted on Posted in Culture, Lean Tools, Management System

Any change in process in the work place will require a level of effective leadership rounding to ensure the new ways of operating are carried out. Mark Graban talk about this concept here, in this article on his Lean Blog titled, “Managing with Red/Green Charts is Like Driving By Looking at the Rear-View Mirror“.  Managing by result is taking action on events and actions that have already passed.  Instead of managing to the results, or lagging measures, placing a focus on the leading indicators of the outcome will produce the desired outcome.

For example, if I want to lost weight, I wouldn’t only track my weight.  While taking my weight daily will produce a trend (either up or down) of what direction I’m headed, it does little by itself to help me impact my daily number.  On the other hand, if I track how many times I exercise per week and the amount of calories I take in daily, I can positively impact my weight by ensuring those actions are at a level that will produce the result I’m after.  Similarly, when driving a key change in a process or practice, a team should not only focus on compliance, and instead focus on the key levers that are going to produce the desired change.

Here are some ways to drive change using effective leadership rounding:

Set up a Daily Management System

The use of a daily management system will keep the team focused on issues and metrics important to the daily operation.  There are two major sections to a daily management system: a communications section and a metrics section.  In the communications section, the team discusses issues impacting the operation, safety events, education needs and process change alerts.  The metrics section contains information relevant to daily and monthly trends of team performance.

Meet with the Executive Sponsor

Schedule some time with the executive responsible for ensuring the change initiative is successful.  During this discussion, gain agreement on the purpose of the rounds.  Draw out key ideas that the executive wants to ensure are highlighted.  Communicate any barriers the change initiative is experiencing and ask the executive sponsor to include support for the change in their opening and closing remarks to the rounds.

Start the Gemba Walk at the Daily Management System

Begin the leadership rounds, or Gemba Walk, at the daily management system.  This places focus on the daily management system and allow the team to highlight barriers to achieving their performance goals.

Ask these key questions

Where is the current state value stream map for the change in question?

  1. What are the action steps expected to impact the value stream and produce the desired result?
  2. What barriers are you experiencing related to this change?
  3. How can I help support you in this change?
  4. Are there any other issues or challenges to highlight not related to this specific change?

Action Plan and Follow-up

Leave the group with at least 5 key actions to take following the effective leadership rounds.  In the debrief with the executive, schedule a follow-up visit to the area.  For timely reinforcement, ensure the follow-up visit takes place within 90 days of the leadership rounds.