Callaghan Innovation log
Productivity People is a preferred provider for Callaghan Innovation’s Lean program
November 20, 2023
A traffic sign using symbols and images to show how many people can cross a bridge
What is Visual Management in Lean?
November 29, 2023
Callaghan Innovation log
Productivity People is a preferred provider for Callaghan Innovation’s Lean program
November 20, 2023
A traffic sign using symbols and images to show how many people can cross a bridge
What is Visual Management in Lean?
November 29, 2023
Show all

The three Components of Leader Standard Work Explained

two people in hard hats, one observing the work of the other

Leader Standard Work is implementing a structured approach that ensures the basic daily, weekly, and monthly tasks are completed regularly and to the right standard. In most instances, Leader Standard Work use checklists that leaders work through to confirm that their team is running their area in the right way, to the right standard, and with the desired outcome. “Is our system working as designed?” As such, LSW is based on the foundations of Standard Work. You cannot implement Leader Standard Work without a good foundation of Standard Work, 5S, and Basic Care routines.

Easy right?

This may sound simple, but if you think you can simply use a checklist and become world-class, you’ve got it wrong. There are actually three parts to Leader Standard Work:

  1. Has the work been completed?
  2. Has the work been completed as per standard?
  3. Has the completed work produced the desired outcome?

The first one can be checked with a simple checklist. In order to verify the other two, a leader will have to visit the place of work and possibly observe the work. Any deviations from the standard provide an opportunity for coaching and/or training. There is also the opportunity to improve the work if the current practice is cumbersome, or illogical, or if the current standard does not provide the desired outcome, e.g., a documented cleaning routine that does not result in clean machinery.

Respect for People

It is important to keep in mind that respect for people is paramount. Leader Standard Work indicates that both the work and the people are important. It is not about catching someone out not, but providing meaningful and genuine feedback about the work and at the same time serves as an opportunity to affirm to people that the work they do matters. It offers a space for coaching, teaching, and support. Holding someone to account in a respectful manner is the essence of LSW.

Not just a Checklist

In environments with high time pressures, many leaders are tempted to limit their Leader Standard Work to the first part: “checking that the work has been completed”. They assume that their team knows what they are doing and that the work has been designed properly. This approach reduces Leader Standard Work to a tick-box exercise where leaders reduce themselves to enforcement managers.

True Leaders

The long-term success of a team in any organisation depends on how the leader behaves. If you as a leader reduce Leader Standard Work to checks to see if the has been completed only, you’re the traditional policeman manager. But if you interpret Leader Standard Work as an opportunity to support your team towards greater success, you’re maximising your leadership effectiveness.

About the author: Liddy Bakker is a Director of Productivity People