Unclear on the Lean Concept: Gemba Walks

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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.

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
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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