Archived SlideCast of my Webinar on Gemba Walks


I have strong ties and connections to the state of Michigan, growing up in Livonia, starting my career there in Livonia, and having my parents and many friends in the area, although I moved away in 1997. I was thrilled to be asked by Debra Setman, a colleague of mine when I was at J&J, to do the inaugural webinar for the Michigan Lean Consortium.

My talk was about Lean and gemba walks, titled “Leadership presence on the front line: a critical success factor for Michigan's regrowth.”

Thanks to, I was able to post the slides and could sync (pretty well) the audio that I recorded during the talk. The embed and link are below:

Some of my key points, if you can't see the slides:

  • Going to the “gemba” (the place where the work is actually done)   is critically important, but what you do and how you behave once you're there is key
  • Gemba is not “Undercover Boss” or Management By Walking Around
  • Gemba shouldn't be the “drive by” variety – you have to stop and truly engage with people, not just say hi
  • ‘Gemba is for everyone” – leaders at all levels

Here's a related blog post from a real gemba-focused leader, John Toussaint M.D.

You can find more about the Michigan Lean Consortium online (they have a website coming soon):

About the Michigan Lean Consortium:

The mission of the MLC is to offer a diverse network of knowledgeable lean professionals who come together to share innovative practices. The organization aims to create a lean culture in Michigan to ensure sustainable competitive advantage, which could translate into healthier businesses that offer more job opportunities leading to economic growth in the state.

The charter members of the MLC include: Amway, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, DTE Energy, Johnson & Johnson, The Lean Learning Center, Northwestern Michigan College, the Pawley Learning Institute at Oakland University and the Michigan Shingo Prize through The Right Place.

Thoughts on the groups effort's or my webinar? Are there any finer points of effective Gemba Walks that I missed? What experiences can you share? Scroll down to add a comment…

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Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.



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