John Shook on A3 Reports in Sloan Management Review
John Shook had an article published in the latest SMR, based on his book Managing to Learn: Using the A3 Management Process to Solve Problems, Gain Agreement, Mentor, and Lead.
Hopefully this provides some good exposure to the broader business community. My understanding of A3 has been strengthened during my time with LEI, but I’m still a “Porter” (“learner”) not a “Sanderson” (mentor) — those names are the two main characters in the book.
As with many Toyota tools, such as kanban or 5S, the true value is hidden beneath what you can actually see.
“The ultimate goal of A3s is not just to solve the problem at hand, but to make
the process of problem solving transparent and teachable in a manner that
creates an organization full of thinking, learning problems solvers.”
Not just solving problems, but developing people. Building people before building cars. Good stuff.
The article is a nice overview for those who are brand new to A3s, or those you might want to expose to the approach.
Recently, I’ve seen a number of hospitals using A3s for planning problem solving purposes – in The Netherlands and the UK. One hospital in the U.S., claims to have produced and used over 5,000 A3 reports, that the method has been taught to their entire staff.
The one challenge I’d see to this is providing enough “Sandersons” to make sure people are being mentored and using A3 in the best way possible, not just a superficial way.
Have and experiences to share?