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For an improvement walk, it’s the people that DO the process. No the leader shouldn’t have to be involved always. What if the leader’s presence makes people feel uncomfortable? People won’t share, and learning won’t occur. As a matter of fact, I often kick higher level leaders out! But, at the same time, teams need to be empowered…they need to know the purpose of the walks, and the clear objectives, as well as boundaries if any exist.

Tracy O'Rourke

Tracy is a Managing Partner at, the co-author of The Problem-Solver’s Toolkit and co-host of the Just-in-Time Cafe. She is also a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Instructor at UC San Diego and teaches in San Diego State University’s Lean Enterprise Program. For almost 20 years, she has helped leading organizations like Washington State, Charles Schwab and GE build problem-solving muscles.