Monday, June 23, 2014
Six Tips for Facilitating a Lean Event
Kaizen events are opportunities to discuss problems within your organization. The purpose is to find workable solutions to problems within an organization or to find new opportunities for a company. The participants of a Kaizen event are key to the success of it. They need to be engaged, thinking and interacting throughout the entire event. This is the role of the facilitator to accomplish.
Here are some thoughts on how to facilitate an event.
1. Start small. Trying to do too much when introducing a new process can be overwhelming. Strive to accomplish small steps over time and build on your successes.
2. Expect to use extra time at first when planning to incorporate activities for reflection. Extra time spent in up-front planning will help reduce challenges during delivery of activities or in follow-up.
3. Work with a colleague whenever possible. You and your colleague can provide each other with a sounding board for ideas and mutual support.
4. Make a collection of activities and ideas. Evaluate the ones that work and those that do not. Revisit old activities occasionally; fresh eyes may see new opportunities for old ideas.
5. Be persistent. If you feel that the process is not working, reflect on the experience to gain new insights. Identify the issues, create solutions, and make necessary adaptations. As a facilitator, consider:
What could have been better?
How did the students respond to the activity?
What feedback did colleagues give about the activity?
Was I open to honest feedback (or was I nervous about receiving constructive comments)?
What adaptations could be made to the activity?
How did I respond to the activity?
How could I adjust my approach to enhance the process?
6. Remember that expertise develops over time and often through a process of trial and error. See this learning process as a journey, rather than the destination.
As a Lean facilitator, if you apply these sensibly you will not go far wrong. Just remember to try it. It's easy to forget about these simple things during the heat of battle.