Supporting Leader Standard Work with Visual Management Tools


A fundamental element of a Lean enterprise is an environment of continuous improvement. Most organizations attempting a lean transformation have struggled with creating such environment. Too often we find that the gains of kaizen are not sustained. If they are sustained, it is difficult to drive continuous improvement above and beyond what has already been put into place. In many cases, the inability to move beyond spot kaizens is a result of a disconnect between Visual Management and Leadership Standard Work. Implementing visual management tools without commensurate leadership standard work results in extra work and useless wall paper. Leadership standard work without visual management tools results in a marginally effective social event at the Gemba. Only when used together, visual management tools and leadership standard work set a foundation for a sustainable, self-correcting, continuous improvement environment that is characteristic of true Lean.

In a traditional environment, at the end of each month or quarter there is a great deal of data gathering, analysis, synthesis, and deliberation over what just happened and what will be done during the coming period. This generally turns into a communication activity to share contingencies and corrective actions that may be required as more of the enterprise is engaged in course corrections. This has sometimes been characterized as steering a boat by looking at the wake.

In a Lean organization, managing the business is critically focused on managing processes in real time at the place of work (gemba). The effect of this is that the end of the month is old news and essentially a non-event. To achieve this, important business process information must be recorded and displayed in simple visual terms throughout the company for all to see and react to as it happens. The areas of emphasis should have a direct connection with company strategy, and all visual management tools must be integrated into the repetitive aspects of management standard work. These same tools are used by the rest of the enterprise ensuring coordinated objectives and visibility. Thus the principle of conventional management what gets measured gets managed , in a lean environment gets transformed into what gets measured visually gets managed in real time.

This one-day workshop deals with designing and executing an implementation plan to migrate your company from one of gather data, synthesize, meet, and react to one of see waste, manage exceptions, and improve processes . It will show you how to tie together the tools of Policy Deployment, Value Stream Mapping, Kaizen, Visual Management, and Leadership Standard Work. The emphasis of the course will be on the development of Visual Management tools and Leadership Standard Work. It will be based on a case study of a company that has developed strategy, gone through Policy Deployment, and Value Stream Mapping, and now wants to develop a visual management plan and management standard work to more effectively lead the enterprise.


This workshop will demonstrate to you how to connect company strategies with leadership standard work through the use of visual management tools and techniques and will emphasize the benefits of incorporating visual management systems into leadership standard work. As a result you will be able to:

  • Improve business performance by reacting to abnormalities in real time at the local level
  • Improve productivity by eliminating waste from critical processes
  • Get everyone in your organization aligned and involved with what is important to your customers and you business
  • Improve front line leadership skills through better awareness
  • Improve morale through transparency and involvement
  • Keep the enterprise motivated to stay on course through the Lean transformation process as they see the impact of process improvements faster

Workshop Outline:

This workshop is based on a case study of a fictitious company which has both knowledge flow and manufacturing processes. At the end of each section, time is allotted to carry out exercises on how concepts can be applied in your specific company.

  • What is visual management and why change?
  • The parts of a visual management system
  • The attributes of successful visual management tools
  • What are the benefits of visual management
  • Visual management and traditional management methods
  • Basic operating performance reports and methods of tracking performance visually
  • How successful visual management systems replace traditional methods rather than just add to the overall work load.
  • Integration of visual process control, visual process performance monitoring and leadership standard work
  • The tools of visual process control
  • Leadership standard work