Gemba Walks: A Management Process for Leading the Organisation




Customer Site and / or sites around the U.K



1 – Day Workshop


“Gemba – What a wonderful word. The place – any place in any organisation – where humans create value.  But how do we understand the gemba? And, more important, how do we make it a better place – one where we can create more value with less waste, variation, and overburden (also known, respectively, as muda, mura, and muri)?”

This opening paragraph of the Introduction of Jim Womack’s latest book Gemba Walks is the starting point for a gemba-based learning experience designed to help participants better understand their role in creating lean thinking through lean management led by their own behaviour in “taking a walk”.

One of the core skills of lean practitioners at any level is an ability to apply – in a disciplined way – the scientific method of PDCA (plan-do-check-act) in order to solve organisational problems that affect the value-creating process. The reason we refer to the PDCA process as “scientific” is that it requires an in-depth understanding of the root causes of every problem which can only be achieved through direct observation of work processes and fact-based information that comes from people who work in these processes.

So let’s stop analysing numerous bits of data on our computer screens. Let’s put on hold heated discussions about the best way to solve a problem that we’ve been having in conference room for hours. Instead, let’s go to the gemba and SEE what is going on there.

Aims and Objectives

The purpose of this workshop is to help you learn by doing and to develop a greater understanding of Gemba Walks as a management routine to:

  • Check the alignment of the organisations purpose, strategic actions with employees activities.
  • Develop the collective understanding of leaders and management to better understand organisational performance issues.
  • Understand the current effectiveness of process, peoples capability and management routines.
  • Improve the effectiveness of management routines and leadership behaviour to support a culture of continuous improvement and problem solving.
  • Understand whether processes have been designed to consistently to achieve the purpose?
  • Understand if people are engaged in working to achieve the purpose, and are they supported in this work by the processes and management routines?


  • Introduction to a different way of thinking with the Lean Transformation Framework.
  • Explore the:
    • Purpose of Gemba Walks, why they are essential and what we seek to accomplish.
    • Process of a Gemba Walk, understand what we look for and why
    • What is the process of a gemba walk?
    • How do we take a walk? What are we looking for and why?
  • Explore People
    • What are the people issues associated with a gemba walk?
    • What does respect for people really mean?  
    • Understanding and managing our impact. 
  • Basic Leadership/Management behaviour and principles:
    • Go See, Ask Why, Show Respect – What these things really mean and how they factor into a gemba walk
    • Looking at and understanding process rather than just looking at results
    • Management as science and discipline rather than art
  • Second Gemba Walk
    • Develop a plan
    • Let’s take another gemba walk
    • Review and discuss what we see
    • Debrief on differences between our first and second walk
  • Lean leadership behaviours and methods
  • Modern versus Lean management. Thinking about our management systems and how they drive behaviour, thinking and business results
  • What is the “work” and the added value of management?
    • Processes and tools/methods to accomplish the value-added of management
    • Understanding the “right” tool at the right level within the organisation
  • Summary and Q&A

Workshop Benefits

Through instruction, small group discussions, exercises and video workshop participants will be able to:

  • Understand the fundamentals of Gemba Walks, its importance within Lean, continuous improvement and in organisation’s management system.
  • Develop the collective understanding of leaders at all levels of the organization.
  • Improve alignment of employees actions with the organisation’s purpose & strategic priorities.
  • Help maintain and accelerate the impact of employee activities on business performance.
  • Managers attending this workshop can expect to come away with a better understanding of how to see and understand the flow of work in their respective organisations.  
  • See beyond the obvious results to the underlying processes that produce those results with an eye to how to create more value with less waste.

Topics that will be examined include:

  • Gemba Walks   
  • How to See Flow
  • Management Routines
  • Leadership Behaviours
  • Management Standardised Work 
  • Visual Management
  • Layered Audits Leadership Confirmation
  • Kamishibai Board & Kami Cards  

Related Books

Who Should Attend?

  • Leaders and management teams wanting to understand their role in helping to sustain and accelerate Lean and continuous improvement throughout their organisation.
  • Managers and executives who are responsible for value-creating or support processes in their organisations.
  • Organisations at any stage in a lean transformation that are struggling with:
    • Sustaining the results from past improvements
    • Embedding improvement activity into the business
    • The effectiveness of the improvement actions
    • Maintaining and improving business performance


  • Attendance – 1 Day Course
  • Class size – Maximum 12 people per day
  • Timings – Each day will run from 09:00 – 17:00
  • Cost – General £390.00 / Consultant £450.00 per delegate per day with a 15% discount when 2 or more people from the same organisation attend
  • Materials – A PDF copy of the materials will be available via the Lean Enterprise Academy website.

This workshop assumes that you are familiar with basic lean terms and concepts as described in Lean Thinking by Jim Womack and Dan Jones.  

* Please note prices exclude VAT at the standard rate of 20%

We can also run these workshops in-house at your convenience, if you would like to explore this option please contact us at [email protected] or call +44 (0)1600 890590

Follow up (optional)

LEA provides an ongoing mentoring service for organisations involved in making Lean transformations. Lean Transformation Master Plans, supporting A3s & VSM’s developed by the organisation can be reviewed at 30/60/90 intervals. This provides the organisation with help and direction in sustaining the learning from the workshop process and helps highlight further learning opportunities that can be pulled, as and when required, by the organisation.

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