Unclear on the Lean Concept: Gemba Walks

Here’s the third cartoon collaboration with artist Carrie Schurman, CMA (AAMA), a workflow facilitator at a health system in Florida. See all of the cartoons here. More to come!

This cartoon is not inspired by any particular incident or any real health system, but it was based off my random thought about what would happen IF a senior executive really misunderstood the intent of a “Gemba Walk.”

gemba walk cartoon 2014

Clearly, gemba walks aren’t about exercise. They’re about observing in the workplace and being present to listen to employees in the spirit of servant leadership. A leader, of course, shouldn’t brush off an employee who wants to talk to them or raise a concern.

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I hope your leaders aren’t breaking out the headbands and hand weights…

Are there any “real” gemba walk errors that you’ve seen in your experience?

You can see more of Carrie’s artwork on her Tumblr site: http://theorganconspiracy.tumblr.com/

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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