Leadership often wants to be supportive, but often they don’t know how to be supportive. It can help a great deal to outline specific directions about how to show support. For example, often for a Kaizen Event, I ask a leader to kickoff the session and provide some bullets about what to say:

  • Why it’s important to do
  • What is in it for the participants

Leadership should probably not attend the whole event, especially if people are nervous about their presence and it affects the team dynamic. I also have leadership return on the last day for a stakeholder update. I remind them to be positive and I also ask them to thank everyone at the session. What I find is that leaders are very appreciative of the direction and rarely are they MIA (missing in action).

Tracy O'Rourke

Tracy is a Managing Partner & Executive Advisor at GoLeanSixSigma.com. For almost 20 years, she's helped leading organizations like Washington State, Cisco and GE build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.