|Boss Mr. Slate firing Fred Flintstone|
- Go from giving answers to asking questions-it is very exhilarating to realize you don't need to be the smartest person in the room! The concept of "humble inquiry" suggests that leaders use open ended questions to pull answers from people who aren't used to being listened to. (If you ask yes/no questions, it is thought that you are simply asking for confirmation to your answer). Once people trust you are listening, bar the door!! More A3s!!!!! Simply ask "would you help me understand what the problem is here?" After you ask that, write it down. Right there and then. Don't tell them you'll get back to them, or we tried that already, etc. while doing all of this, remember that the true expert is the person who DOES the work every single day, and that it is disrespectful for ME to fix YOUR job.
- Help support A3 leaders-to help A3 leaders, managers need to carve out 30 minutes per day and be determined to figure out how they can help A3 leaders. If you are too busy to carve out 30 minutes, people will correctly assume lean isn't important. All managers need to do is go to the A3 board, pick a project, and go see the of the project you picked. All you need to ask: "I saw you're leading this, will you show me what your doing?" Do they need help getting their team members together for an A3 meeting? Do they need help with the form? Do they need a refresher in 5 Why? Do they need help preparing for their closing? You'll never know if you don't show up! The other important thing to always remember it is not your job to place to decide whether an A3 idea is "good" or "bad". Once you start filtering ideas, they will stop coming!
- Develop people-one of the tenets of the Toyota Production System is to "continuously develop your people and partners". In your company, how exactly is this done? Nobody will argue that the role of management is to develop leaders. After all, they're not processing orders, or moving parts, right? Think of A3 as an audition for leadership. A3 leaders are being asked to leverage diversity and gain agreement to solve problems using the scientific method (define-measure-analyze-improve-control) and then teach their peers what they've learned (at the A3 closing). Isn't that what we need leaders to do? The tricky part is the gaining agreement. So how do you make really good leaders? Encourage (and help) them lead a lot of improvement A3s.