It is generally accepted that Gemba walks should follow the approach articulated by Ex Toyota chairman Fujio Cho with the words:
- “Go See
- Ask to understand
- Show respect”
However, with objective introspection, I want to pose the question; To what extent is this the way Gemba walks manifests in your company’s Lean culture? Personal observation on my part had been that for many, Gemba walks are treated as MBWA or “Management by Walking About” which in no way resembles that described by Fujio Cho. Granted that there are also different nuances and levels of a Gemba walk depending on who is performing it. I nevertheless believe they should all be following the clear guidelines of the Chairman to really qualify as Gemba walks. Most revealing are the answers Leaders give when being asked ”Why are you doing Gemba walks? Some legitimate answers would be:
- To gain 1st hand knowledge (intel) of critical controls of the business
- To influence the floor exactly where it matters most for the business
- To build the capability of the employees thus showing respect for their development
- To support and build the culture and to set an example to rest of the organization.
It would be interesting to hear other opinions and how it may have evolved in your company.